If you live or work in Metro Manila and experience a five-minute power and mobile phone signal interruption on Friday (July 14) at around 4 p.m., remind yourself that there is no need to worry. Your area might be among the several locations across the metro where a big earthquake drill is scheduled.
Organized by the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) in collaboration with the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and local government units (LGUs), the metro-wide earthquake safety drill is set on July 14 to 17. The activity will be carried out in undisclosed locations to preserve the element of surprise, just like actual earthquakes that strike unannounced.
Duck, cover, and hold
NDRRMC spokesperson Mina Marasigan said they are expecting full participation of the public. “We will do simulation with LGUs,” she said. “Where are they supposed to go? Let us see how fast they can actually put up staging areas and provide assistance to the public.” The earthquake drill is intended to showcase the capabilities of LGUs in case such a disaster happens.
Participants are expected to ‘duck, cover, and hold’—a recommended procedure to be followed to keep the public safe in case a strong earthquake strikes. “The purpose of such drills is to develop the muscle memory to take cover instead of panic,” Marasigan said.
The Big One
For quite some time now, Metro Manila has been preparing for what is referred to as ‘The Big One,’ an anticipated major earthquake (about 7.2 magnitude or stronger) that may hit the metro and nearby provinces on the next movement of the West Valley Fault, a 100-kilometer fault line running from Bulacan to Sta. Rosa in Laguna. The fault line is said to move every 400 years; its last movement was recorded in 1658, making it ripe for another possible earthquake from it soon.
NDRRMC staged a simultaneous earthquake drill in Davao City on June 29. In September, the council is set to hold the same drill in Silang, Cavite, a town near the end of the southern tip of the West Valley Fault.