DILG kicks off Disaster Consciousness Month

MANILA-- The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) kicked off the Disaster Consciousness Month with an exhibit and lecture on Disaster Risk Reduction-Climate Change Adaptation (DRR-CCA) on Thursday, July 6.

Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Undersecretary and Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) Officer-in-Charge Renato Solidum Jr. gave lectures on "Preparing for Large Earthquakes" to some 100 personnel from the DILG and the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) - Central Office in Quezon City.

Solidum stressed the West Valley Fault, the potentially most destructive fault in Metro Manila, is expected to move every 400 to 600 years and is already ripe for ground shaking.

When it happens, the large earthquake dubbed as "The Big One", may cause a 7.2-magnitude earthquake and may result to an estimated 48,000 fatalities and 24,000 seriously injured in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces.

The metropolis may also be isolated due to damages in major infrastructure like bridges and buildings.

Phivolcs records showed the West Valley Fault moved at 2.5 magnitude on June 5, 2017 with its epicenter located at 12 kilometers North and 57 degrees East of Dona Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan.

Solidum said while the West Valley Fault earthquake scenario can significantly affect Metro Manila and nearby areas, there is a dire need to understand and appreciate the hazards and risks to prepare and respond appropriately.

For a national government agency like the DILG, Solidum said public servants are also concerned with loss of lifeline like water, energy, electricity, communication, transport system (roads, bridges, rail, seaport, airport) which are vital to government operations.

He added the DILG must be ready with the evacuation plan and must have readily identified a recovery team that will return to work and continue operations after a large earthquake.

"As the vice-chairman for disaster preparedness, the DILG must walk the talk and your CODIX (Central Office Disaster Information Coordinating Center) must be able to secure their families and immediately report to office to sustain government operations," Solidum said.

Part of disaster preparedness and risk reduction is self-help or individual and family preparedness.

Among others, it is very important to undertake the following precautionary measures prior to earthquake:

-- check the location of houses that these are not directly atop a fault line, check the construction of the houses, follow building and land use code, prepare house or office for the earthquake;

-- identify safe and dangerous spots;

-- prepare emergency kits; and,

-- plan to communicate and reunite with family members.

"Preparing for the 'Big One' entails a whole of government approach. Every organization must have a business continuity plan and every family must prepare," Solidum said.

Likewise, the Public Affairs and Communication Service (PACS) on Thursday organized the exhibit which showcases the DRR initiatives of the various offices in the DILG like evacuation center building plan, completed evacuation centers, Red Alert event, DZMM radio interviews, shake drill and e-Balde distribution.

DILG Undersecretary Austere Panadero and Solidum graced the simple ribbon-cutting ceremony, with DILG Assistant Secretary for Muslim Affairs and Special Concerns Hamid Ladjakahal and PACS Director Marlo Guanzon which officially opened the month-long DRR-CCA exhibit at the Ground Floor Lobby, DILG-NAPOLCOM Center, EDSA corner Quezon Avenue, Quezon City.

National Disaster Consciousness Month is observed every July by virtue of Executive Order No. 137 signed on Aug. 10, 1999 by then President Joseph Estrada.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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