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‘Muscle memory,’ cooperation takeaways from metro-wide quake drill

/ 06:15 PM July 30, 2015

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IF there was one lesson that participants have picked up from the Metro Manila Shake Drill, it would be “muscle memory,” or the ability to perform motion-related tasks easier owing to previous practice, a businessman said on Thursday.

Ayala Land Inc. Vice President Manny Blas said the drill has more or less oriented residents and workers on what to do in the event that a potentially destructive quake would hit the National Capital Region.

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“The value of the drill, it gives you muscle memory. When something happens, you know more or less what to do right away,” he said.

READ: Manila holds drill to prepare for killer quake

Highlighting the importance of coordination, Blas said interaction with authorities and government agencies would also help reduce damages of a possible killer quake that may strike the metropolis.

“You have interaction, you know the faces that you have to deal with—the police, the bureau of fire, the MMDA (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority). Knowing the person that you would call or coordinate with—I think that’s also the value of the drill that I hope we don’t miss,” he said.

Asked about the turnout of participants and those who opted to stay in their buildings, Blas said the important thing was there were representatives from each establishment who would lead others in evacuation in case of a quake.

“We didn’t expect everyone to participate. We have about 80,000 to 100,000 people at Ayala Center at any single day. But I think if you have enough people, especially the people responsible, if you have this critical mass, at least the response… there would be leaders when something happens. They would initiate the most. They would know what to do,” he added.

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Confident but concerned

While noting that all of their structures have followed the building code, the Ayala Land Vice President said streets in the area were not wide enough for evacuation.

“Buildings on both sides of the street are very tall. If we needed permanent evacuation areas then it would have to be our open spaces like Ayala Triangle, Salcedo Park, Washington Sycip Park, [as] these are the open spaces that we have here. If we needed a prolonged evacuation, those are the areas that we would go to,” he said.

Blas also expressed worries over the safety of “less fortunate neighbors” outside the Makati Business District, whom he said would be more affected when the “Big One” strikes.

“We’re very confident. We’re the ones who do these drills regularly, so we are probably the most prepared. But we are also concerned about our neighbors, our less fortunate neighbors who will be probably more severely affected when “The Big One” comes,” Blas said.

“So I think part of our preparation is not only taking care of our properties and residents and workers who are here, but also what we would do in order to attend to our neighbors outside the center of business district,” he added.

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TAGS: Ayala, Ayala Land, Earthquake, earthquake drill, Makati Business District, Metro Manila Shake Drill, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, MMDA, National Capital Region, NCR
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