MANILA - The magnitude 7.2 earthquake that devastated parts of the Visayas on Tuesday should serve as a warning for Metro Manila and nearby provinces threatened by the Marikina Valley Fault, Senator Loren Legarda said Tuesday.
Legarda, in a press statement, cited a prediction from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on the impending movement of the Marikina fault line.
"The Marikina Valley Fault Line is ripe for movement but no one can predict the exact time when it will move. This makes preparedness for such eventuality even more important," she said.
Legarda said a Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS) conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency in 2004 revealed that a 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Metro Manila would destroy 40% of the residential buildings, damage 35% of all public buildings, kill 34,000 people, injure 114,000 individuals, and the ensuing fires will also result in 18,000 additional fatalities.
"The study also contains priority actions that should have been undertaken 3-6 years after the study was publicized to reduce the impacts of such a strong tremor," she said.
She said the public must be prepared against earthquakes in all parts of the country.
She said among the steps that must be undertaken include promoting disaster-resilient urban development; ensuring structural integrity of buildings and critical infrastructure; formulating emergency supply system of water, food and other necessities; and determining open spaces for safe refuge when tremors occur.
"Earthquakes turn into major disasters due to unsafe structures--poorly built structures, buildings in inappropriate places, inadequate design and materials specification, and shortcuts in construction. Inspection during the construction of both public and private infrastructure is important. The additional expense required for making structures safe from earthquakes is worth it especially if it would save thousands of precious lives," she said.
Legarda said that the government must ensure that all structures, especially bridges, school buildings and hospitals, are earthquake-proof through a nationwide structural evaluation and by retrofitting these structures to allow them to withstand destructive earthquakes.