As classes resumed in public schools on Monday, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) announced the launching of bepreparedmetromanila.com, a website to help residents in the metropolis prepare for a strong earthquake.
In a visit on Monday to the Pedro E. Diaz High School in Muntinlupa City which sits on the West Valley Fault, MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino explained that the website contains vital information about quake preparedness and maps of the West and East Valley fault systems.
Tolentino said that the website also gives tips on what to do before, during and after a temblor like securing shelves and cabinets, preparing a security emergency kit and drafting a family earthquake plan.
At the same time, it provides information on Oplan Metro Yakal, the quake response plan drafted by the agency.
“We are slowly doing these steps to prepare for a strong earthquake,” Tolentino said, noting that the new website was part of the MMDA’s efforts to use the Internet to equip Metro residents with the information they needed to be ready for such an event.
The website also has information on the hazard maps in the metropolis through the AusAID’s Greater Metro Manila Area Risk Analysis and the Valley Fault System Atlas of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).
Along with a detailed description of Oplan Metro Yakal, the website also lists the emergency contact numbers of government agencies and the 17 local government units in Metro Manila.
“Interested volunteers for the Metro Manila Rescue Volunteer Corps (MMRVC) can also sign up using the website,” the MMDA chair added.
Tolentino earlier announced that the MMDA was hoping to recruit an additional 8,000 volunteers for the MMRVC which would be activated for disaster response.
“Volunteers must be 18 years old or above, male or female, and willing to undergo a three-day earthquake response and rescue training to be conducted by the agency for free,” he said.
Along with the website’s launch, the MMDA also brought its earthquake simulator to Pedro E. Diaz High School to let some of the 7,000 students know what it feels like when a magnitude-7.2 earthquake hits.
Muntinlupa City Mayor Jaime Fresnedi, together with Tolentino and Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, inspected Monday the area inside the school traversed by the West Valley fault line.
The inspection done in close coordination with Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum resulted in the Muntinlupa City government’s decision to declare five of the 11 buildings in Pedro E. Diaz High School off-limits to all students, teachers and school personnel.
Muntinlupa public information officer Tez Valencia Navarro said that the city government would make sure that buildings were constructed a safe distance away from the fault line. It would also organize a meeting with the owners and stakeholders of properties that lie on danger zones, Navarro added.
Jose Adriano of the City Planning and Development Office earlier said that the West Valley Fault and ground fissures cut across eight out of nine barangays (villages) in Muntinlupa, namely Sucat, Buli, Cupang, Alabang, Bayanan, Putatan, Poblacion and Tunasan.
“Faults are where earthquakes are generated and fissures are considered vulnerable areas because of the unstable land composition due to ground water extraction,” Adriano explained, adding that there were 718 parcels of land affected by the fault and approximately 707 others affected by ground fissures.
Some of the areas in the city identified to lie directly above the fault line were Robinsons Community Escalades, Starmall Alabang, Dona Rosario Heights, Posadas Village, Alabang Elementary School, Pedro E. Diaz High School, Elizabeth Center and Our Lady of the Abandoned Parish Church.