Earthquake drill snapshot

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will hold the 3rd Metro Manila Shake Drill starting today, July 14. This is in preparation for the 7.2-magnitude earthquake, forecasted as the ‘Big One.’

The signal will set off later this afternoon at 4:00 p.m. and will last for 4 days (July 17). According to MMDA, early recovery-rehabilitation capacity, testing response and rescue, command and control, and communication systems are amongst the focus of this year’s drill. Of note, the drill will be composed of 2 components: business continuity and early recovery plan of private sectors on July 15 to 17, and government and individual response on the 16th.

“We will give all sectors the chance to participate in the shake drill not only on the level of the government, but also the private sector. They will be able to implement their emergency plans and see how these can be improved.”

Under MMDA’s disaster contingency plan Oplan Metro Yakal Plus, engagement of calamity preparedness begins from national level, next to local government units, down to family units and individual. Of note, local government officials are instructed to simulate scenarios for disaster response. Barangay officials, on the other hand, may hold evacuation drills, feeding, and emergency plans.

In addition, Metro Manila will be divided into 4 quadrants – North, South, East, and West. Quadrant commanders are tasked to play a vital role in mobilizing and setting up emergency centers inside their jurisdictions. Santiago said that personnel and equipment will no longer be provided beforehand, unlike in 2015 and 2016, where personnel and equipment were already positioned prior to the exercise.

Danilo Lim, who recently assumed his post as MMDA Chairman, stressed that people shouldn’t take the drill lightly as many lives are at stake in case the ‘Big One’ happens. The MMDA is set to talk with members of the academe, religious organizations, foreign embassies, and media in the following days as part of their preparation.

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