OWING to its aggressive efforts to be disaster-resilient, the city of Makati has been declared by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) as the most prepared city in Metro Manila (National capital Region or NCR) against geological hazards including earthquakes.
Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum Jr. made the assessment during the 10th Asian Seismological Commission (ASC) General Assembly at the Dusit Thani Manila recently where he also praised Makati for being the first to adopt earthquake-resiliency measures in its structures and establishments.
Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay thanked Solidum for acknowledging the initiatives of the city government in strengthening its disaster preparedness and risk reduction capabilities, which include intensive training of all disaster response personnel at the city and barangay (village) levels and equipment and infrastructure upgrade.
Makati prides itself in having the country’s first risk sensitive land use plan, the New Makati Comprehensive Land Use Plan and its Zoning Ordinance, which takes into consideration different hazards in the city. The plan was approved by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board in 2013.
According to Binay, the city has also completed its contingency for Earthquakes and Pre-Disaster Recovery Plan that addresses identified needs in case an earthquake strikes Metro Manila.
Included in the plan are identified open spaces in the city to serve as evacuation areas in case of an earthquake, and the construction of multi-hazards evacuation centers up to five stories high.
Last year, the city Office of the Building Official (OBO) issued a memorandum making it mandatory for buildings 15 years and older to be inspected by a qualified structural engineer, and secure a Certification of Structural Stability for submission to the office. The 22-story Makati City Hall was certified as structurally sound last year by E.H. Sison Engineers, in accordance with the 4th edition of the Structural Code of the Philippines.
The building is also equipped with three sets of seismographs capable of monitoring ground vibrations. In 2011, the OBO issued a memorandum requiring high rise buildings, both completed and those still under construction, to install seismographs.
Since 2008, Binay said the city government has pursued the Makati Risk-Sensitive Urban Redevelopment Project in its pilot area, Barangay Rizal, aiming to transform it from being highly vulnerable to a disaster-resilient community.
The city’s joint efforts with barangay officials and residents, and partner-agencies including Earthquake and Megacities Initiative, German Federal Foreign Affairs Office, Philvolcs and other disaster resiliency experts have produced earthquake and fire evacuation plans identifying escape routes and holding areas, and proper signages were installed to mark fault zones and evacuation routes.
The Makati Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office regularly conducts trainings and workshops for barangay officials, personnel and first responders on topics that include mass casualty incident command system and preparation of contingency plans and recovery plans.