Preparing for 'The Big One': Upcoming shake drill to focus on quake aftermath

Patrick Quintos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 17 2017 12:24 PM | Updated as of Apr 17 2017 02:55 PM

MANILA - The third annual Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) shake drill will focus on possible scenarios after--instead of during--a magnitude 7.2 quake in Metro Manila.

MMDA General Manager Tim Orbos on Monday said, in the aftermath of the "Big One," basic needs such as water and food may not be available.

"Mawawalan ng tubig, mawawalan ng kuryente," Orbos told ANC. "You might have survived the blow. But then the after-effect, we will have to be ready for it, too."

He said studies show that about 80% of Metro Manila's water pipes will be broken, and the powerful quake is seen to divide the metro in four possibly unreachable quadrants.

According to Orbos, they will also involve nearby provinces and key cities from the regions in this year's shake drill as "responders." Water utilities will also be involved, he added.

"We need to involve the 'responders.' We need to involve Pangasinan, We need to involve Bicol and even Cebu. Kasi sila 'yung tutulong sa 'tin. And also to make Clark the center of operations," he said.

Orbos also admitted during the interview that the government has yet to do an inventory of which buildings are earthquake-proof.

Studies show that around 30,000 people in Metro Manila could die in the event of a massive quake triggered by the movement of the Valley Fault System.

Orbos said this year's shake drill was originally scheduled on July 14-18. But after the recent earthquakes in Batangas and Lanao del Sur, they may do the drill earlier.

Localizing disaster-preparedness: 4,000 simultaneous

Orbos also said they want this year's shake drill to localize preparedness for the Big One down to the barangay level.

He said officials of all 4,000 barangays in Metro Manila should take the lead as effects of a magnitude 7.2 quake will be difficult for the city or municipal governments to handle.

"The barangay captain should take over and be the symbol of authority (when the Big One happens)," said Orbos.

He added barangay officials should know the open spaces, like basketball courts, and even roads where residents could run to when the Big One happens.

Orbos said they will be doing an inventory of doctors, people with disaster preparedness training, and open spaces per barangay.

"The barangay officials must have a list of residents–sino ang doktor, sino ang may training, sino ang may baril, who can help out secure the place, help secure the groceries," he said.

(The barangay officials must have a list of residents–who is the doctor, who has training, who owns a gun, who can help out secure the place, help secure the groceries.)

He added that barangays by now should have basic disaster response equipment because 5% of the Internal Revenue Allotment is allocated for disaster preparedness.