FOLLOWING the 5.7-magnitude earthquake that jolted parts of Luzon, including Metro Manila, on Wednesday night, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has called for a Metro Manila-wide earthquake drill to prepare residents in the event of a new tremor.
MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino on Thursday said earthquake drills and disaster management training should be conducted regularly by government offices, local government units and private organizations to awaken public awareness and preparedness.
Tolentino said the 17 local government units, national government offices, educational institutions and other stakeholders should participate in the metrowide drill to enhance inter-sector coordination in times of disaster.
“It is also time for us and the LGUs to conduct an inventory of our resources such as rescue personnel and equipment to improve our readiness,” he added.
Tolentino said Wednesday night’s earthquake was a reminder for all of “us to be always ready for any type of calamities.”
“We should conduct more extensive earthquake drills and seminars, especially in the barangay level. We should not be caught unprepared,” he said.
Tolentino serves as the chairman of the Metro Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Committee (MMDRRMC).
The MMDA has led several daytime and nighttime earthquake drills in public areas such as shopping malls and schools since 2012 after the earthquake that hit Eastern Samar and Bukidnon.
At the MMDA, Tolentino has organized the “Oplan Metro Yakal,” an earthquake contingency plan designed to be carried out in case a severe tremor hits Metro Manila.
The “Oplan Metro Yakal” comprises the MMDA’s 6,000-strong workforce who were trained as rescue volunteers under Task Force Rainbow, along with 1,000 volunteers from various barangays and associations of fire brigades and civic organizations.
Under the contingency plan, all MMDA employee-rescuers shall report to their assigned sectors or base camps at the earliest possible time in the event of an earthquake.
If the earthquake takes place during office hours, Task Force Rainbow will assemble at the MMDA main office in Makati City, from where they will be deployed to areas that need immediate critical assistance.