MANILA - The powerful quake that shook Luzon Monday is like a "lightweight" boxer, the head of seismology office Phivolcs said Tuesday, adding that the government is preparing for a "heavyweight" with the possibility of a stronger temblor in Metro Manila.
The 100-kilometer West Valley Fault -- which stretches from Bulacan province, passes through Metro Manila and ends in Laguna -- can spawn a magnitude 7.2 quake, said Phivolcs chief Renato Solidum.
It moves every 400 to 600 years and triggered a magnitude 6.3 to 6.5 quake in 1648, he said.
A shorter fault between Zambales and Pampanga provinces triggered Monday afternoon's magnitude 6.1 quake, which killed 11 people and caused buildings to sway, Solidum said.
"Yung kahandaan namin ay parang inihahalintulad ko sa boxing. Kung ang kalaban natin ay heavyweight, iyung preparedness natin ay heavyweight o superweight; hindi lightweight ang ating pinapaghandaan," he told radio DZMM.
(I liken our preparedness to boxing. If our opponent is a heavyweight, our preparedness should be for a heavyweight or superweight; we are not preparing for a lightweight.)
"Iyung nangyari kahapon ay lightweight lang na earthquake, middleweight. Kung handa tayo sa mas malaki, dapat wala tayong problema sa nangyari kahapon," he added.
(The quake yesterday is only lightweight, middleweight. If we are prepared for a bigger one, we should not have had any problem yesterday.)
A magnitude 7.2 quake could cause a "very destructive" Intensity 8 shaking that would likely prevent people from even standing up, said Solidum.
Authorities, he said, should focus on fortifying buildings, bridges and transport terminals in Metro Manila.
"Kahit intensity 8 siya, kung hindi naman babagsak ang bahay, gusali, ligtas tayo," Solidum said.
(Even if the shaking is at intensity 8, if houses and buildings would not collapse we'll still be safe.)
"Ang preparedness kasi sa lindol hindi overnight nangyayari, marami pang kumbinsihan," he added.
(Earthquake preparedness does not happen overnight, we still need to do a lot of convincing.)