By Jel Santos
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Saturday urged the public to take this year’s Metro Manila Shake Drill seriously.
Jose Arturo Garcia, MMDA general manager, said the earthquakes can never be predicted, but people can be trained to be ready when one strikes.
“We are asking the public to take this seriously. This is a preparation in case an earthquake hits us,” he said. “We are urging everyone to participate in the drill, wherever you are, no matter what you are doing. We want to make actions more spontaneous as possible,”
Earlier, Garcia said the only thing that will be certain in this year’s drill is that it will transpire at 3 p.m., between second and third week of July.
MMDA said this year’s drill, now on its fourth leg, seeks to test the public’s preparedness that is why the drill will only be announced only hours before it starts.
The agency said people should have learned something from the MM Shake Drills in the past few years.
Telecommunication companies have been tapped to provide text blast messages to their subscribers five minutes before the actual drill, Garcia said.
“The trigger simulating the occurrence of a strong earthquake will be the cell broadcast of telcos and audible signals from sirens of emergency vehicles, building public address systems, church bells and others,” the general manager said.“Radio stations will also be informing the public about the shake drill by sounding an alert.”
Garcia said “this will be the signal for everyone to drop, cover and hold…. everybody can then practice their respective evacuation plans.”
Government agencies, local government units, particularly disaster risk reduction and management council personnel, are expected to execute their contingency plans.
Organizations are also given the chance to do response capacity demonstrations which are aligned with the activity.
Garcia said the MMDA will carry out plans under the Oplan Metro Yakal Plus, the agency’s contingency plan in the event of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake.
“No personnel or equipment will be prepositioned at the designated emergency operation centers and evacuation camps at northern, southern, eastern and western quadrants.”
There will be four evacuation camps during the drill namely North, East, West, and South:
In the North: Veterans Memorial Medical Center; UP Diliman Grounds; and Quezon City Memorial Center;
In the East: Marikina Boys Town; Red Cross Compound in Marikina City; Ultra Pasig; and LRT 2 Station Depot in Santolan, Pasig;.
In the West: Intramuros Golf Course’
In the South: Villamor Air Base Golf Course in Pasay City.