House panel endorses passage of mandatory earthquake drill bill

Published July 19, 2021, 4:30 PM

by Ben Rosario

The House Committee on Disaster Resiliency has strongly endorsed the passage of the bill providing for mandatory nationwide simultaneous earthquake and emergency preparedness drill.

Earthquake drill online

Chaired by Leyte 4th District Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez, House Bill 9806 has been submitted to the Committee on Rules to be calendared for plenary approval as soon as Congress resumes session starting next week.

Torres-Gomez has aired the confidence that the bill will get the needed majority votes for the swift approval of HB 9806.

The committee chairperson also lauded authors of the bills that were consolidated into HB 9806.

Reps. Precious Hipolito-Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City); Alfred de los Santos (Ang Probinsyano) and Marvey Mariño were among the authors of the consolidated measure.

Castelo, author of HB 2135, cited the significance of conducting an earthquake and emergency preparedness drill as she pointed out that the Philippines falls within an earthquake zone.

“The concept is to closely simulate the occurrence of a big earthquake and get everyone mentally alert and instinctively aware of what he should do during an actual seismic episode,” she explained.

Castelo said readiness and awareness in people could save lives, thus, drills and other exercises are “worth the effort, time and attention” of both government and the public.

HB 9806 proposes the conduct of a quarterly nationwide simultaneous earthquake and emergency preparedness drill.

Torres-Gomez said all public and educational institutions, business establishments and facilities handling storing and transporting hazardous materials are enjoined to participate int he drills.

In filing his bill, De los Santos said a country prone to natural disasters like the Philippines must always be prepared to counter the devastating effects of earthquakes, typhoons and other natural disasters.

“The knowledge and skills from such an emergency and disaster response program may spell the difference for a lot of our fellow probinsyanos, especially those in highly vulnerable areas,” said De los Santos.