Philippines: NDRRMC scales up preps for magnitude 7.2 earthquake

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QUEZON CITY, Feb. 24 - National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) members convene to discuss plans and preparations for a magnitude 7.2 earthquake on Thursdays at the NDRRMC Conference Room, Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

NDRRMC Vice Chairperson for Preparedness and Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Ismael D Sueno chaired the meeting attended by Vice Chairperson for Response and Social Welfare Secretary Judy M Taguiwalo and NDRRMC Executive Director and Civil Defense Administrator Usec Ricardo B Jalad. Directors of member agencies namely; DILG, DSWD, OCD, DOST-PHIVOLCS, DPWH, DOH, DepEd, DFA, MMDA, PNP, AFP, PCG, BFP, PDRF, ADMU were present during the meeting as well as Regional Directors of OCD and DILG from Luzon.

Mr. Ishmael C Narag of PHIVOLCS presented on the Metro Manila West Valley Fault System including the possible effects of a magnitude 7.2 earthquake in Metro Manila and nearby provinces. In his presentation, he focused on the massive impacts of a strong earthquake in Metro Manila including a huge economic loss. Mr. Narag emphasized that the “Big One” is not only for Metro Manila but also in other regions of the country thus the need for a whole of society preparation.

BGen Manuel S Gonzales of MMDA gave an overview of the Oplan Metro Yakal Plus which outlines the contingency plan for an earthquake based on the Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS). This stipulates the twinning system or the regions identified to assist the quadrants in Metro Manila during a response.

Further, Director Felino O Castro V of DSWD explained the National Disaster Response Plan (NDRP) for Earthquake and Tsunami. The plan was approved by the National Council during the recent council meeting on 17 January 2017 and is being cascaded through the DSWD.

During the discussion, members of the National Council emphasized on the full utilization of the NDRP and recommended that Local Government Units (LGUs) align its plans with the NDRP on assisting Metro Manila in the event of an earthquake. The interoperability of all the plans of government agencies and LGUs was discussed during the meeting.

Secretary Judy M Taguiwalo expressed the need to firm up local plans and identify the details of assistance needed from the LGUs.

“We should spell out the assistance we need from the LGUs to harmonize emergency response in the event of an earthquake,” said Secretary Taguiwalo.

The National Council is set to create a Technical Working Group to draft the guidelines for the creation of local plans for assisting Regions likely to be affected. A team composed of experts was proposed to be organized to monitor the progress of preparations for the implementation of the NDRP for Earthquake and Tsunami. (NDRRMC)