Makati City Mayor Abigail Binay led the distribution of emergency “go bags” to over 500 households in the city whose properties are situated near the West Valley Fault which, according to seismologists, is already ripe for movement and could generate a magnitude- 7.2 earthquake in Metro Manila.
The recipients came from four barangays transected by the fault: East Rembo, Comembo, Pembo, and Rizal. The distribution for the first two was done at East Rembo Covered Court, and for the latter two at Pembo Barangay Hall.
Binay said the provision of “go bags” to at-risk households was aimed not only to equip them with basic survival tools and essentials in preparation for any untoward incident, such as a strong earthquake but also to emphasize their perilous location.
A “go bag” is a portable survival kit recommended by emergency response experts for every household or facility. It is meant to help an individual or a family survive at least in the next 72 hours after a disaster, and contains essential needs such as food and drinking water, aside from handy tools.
“While our main objective is to help them survive should the dreaded magnitude-7.2 earthquake finally happen, we also intend to drive home the fact that they are in grave danger while they remain within the declared danger zones,” she said.
In March last year, Binay initiated a series of dialogs with affected residents in the four barangays to raise their awareness about the dangers of living within the five-meter easement on both sides of the fault.
She urged them to relocate and offered financial assistance from the city government.
The city chief executive said her administration had been aggressively promoting a “culture of preparedness” among Makatizens in line with its thrust of building resilient and sustainable communities.
“We envision Makati as a city where the entire populace is in a constant state of preparedness for any kind of calamity or emergency. We would like to make resilience a way of life among Makatizens,” she said.
Binay pointed out that the city government had prioritized the distribution of go bags to vulnerable sectors in the community to promote the “self-help approach” which aims to make them self-reliant, particularly during the first 72 hours after a disaster when outside help may not be immediately provided.
Each bag contains 91 items, including a hygiene kit and various tools for light and communication, first aid, and protection, as well as emergency tools. It also contains emergency tools such as an emergency rope, 13-function folding pocket knife, thermal blanket, tube tent, and a hand crank radio with a flashlight.
The city government initially rolled out “go bags” to public schools in Makati in February this year.
Records of the Makati Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office show that 944 large “go bags” have been distributed to 21 elementary schools, six high schools, 31 barangays, and various City Hall offices to date.
Meanwhile, 10,498 individually-packed go bags have also been distributed to public schoolchildren, including 4,500 bags for day care pupils. Each of the bags contains 14 items including food bars, emergency stick (glow-in-the-dark), thermal blanket and N95 respiratory mask for kids.
According to MDRRMO, the WVF-transected properties were identified through the Walk-the-Fault activity jointly conducted by the city government and PHIVOLCS.
These were subsequently validated by the city government through the use of Global Positioning System.
Simultaneous with the said activity, paint-marking on the properties were done to raise the awareness of residents on the actual track of the WVF and increase survival rate when “The Big One” occurs.
The WVF in Makati has an approximate length of almost three kilometers and transects four barangays in the city, as follows: Comembo-0.16 km; East Rembo-1.07 kms; Pembo-0.82 km; and Rizal-0.83 km.
Last year, Binay presented Makati’s initiatives at a conference on “Building a Multi-Stakeholder and Integrated Approach to Disaster Resilience” organized by the Carlos P. Romulo Foundation for Peace and Development together with other partners.
In his invitation letter, Ambassador Roberto Romulo, chairman of the foundation, acknowledged Binay for being the “first mayor” among six cities directly affected by the WVF to launch relevant initiatives since the Valley Fault System Atlas was released in 2015.