General manager Jose Arturo Garcia Jr. of the Metro Manila Development Authority on Friday said the annual earthquake drill raked up over a billion impressions on social media which showed metro-wide engagement of the people in the disaster preparedness exercise.
The agency also declared the event successful in its objective in raising public awareness on the “Big One,” a phrase used to describe the gigantic earthquake.
Garcia said the MMDA gave its workforce a modest 85-percent grade for performing assigned tasks “very well” during the drill conducted last Thursday.
“The Shake Drill was well organized. Our personnel know their tasks very well, they know what to do when disaster strikes.”
Highlights of the drill included how the agency personnel handled the situation and responded to the earthquake scenarios as a team amid heavy rains.
Like the public, agency personnel were only informed of the exercise on the day of the drill itself.
An hour before the drill happened, telecommunication companies sent alert messages and alarms to mobile subscribers.
Garcia said many of the personnel deployed at designated evacuation centers and command posts in northern, southern, western and eastern locations in Metro Manila spent the nights there just to carry out their preparedness plans.
Another notable improvement this year was communication among the quadrants, Garcia added.
“We have backup phones. Aside from our cellular phones, we have satellite phones on hand,” he said.
Garcia, however, noted that the Shake Drill had still a lot of room for improvement.
“It [Shake Drill] was not perfect. There is still a lot more work to do in the succeeding drills,” said Garcia.
He also noted there was a need to upgrade tools and equipment for emergency cases.
Moreover, Garcia said motorists have yet to learn how to give way to ambulances and emergency vehicles on the road.
“We are calling on motorists to give way to ambulances and emergency vehicles, veer away to the left or to the right,” said Garcia.
The MMDA official noted that motorists did not give space to passing ambulances when he, MMDA chairman Danilo Lim and other agency officials visited evacuation centers and command posts in the metropolis.
The MMDA said it was vital to have a regular earthquake drill to be better prepared in the event that the “Big One” jolted Metro Manila.
The MMDA created Earthquake Contingency Plan or Oplan Metro Yakal Plus, a Metro Manila Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council’s response tool based on the 7.2-magnitude movement of the West Valley Fault with Intensity 8 ground shaking.
Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology director Renato Solidum said the intensity of the ground shaking from the WVF with a 7.2-magnitude earthquake would not only affect Metro Manila but would also be felt in nearby provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite and Laguna.
He said with an Intensity 8 earthquake, the scenarios of fire incidents, collapsed structures, and hazardous traffic incidents would occur.
Based on the Oplan Yakal contingency plan, Metro Manila will be divided into four quadrants.