Muntinlupa #MMShakeDrill tests community and private sector response
MANILA, Philippines – In Muntinlupa, community preparedness is seen as key to surviving a mega-earthquake.
Part of this year's drill is the emphasis on the private sector's and the communities' response plans. (IN PHOTOS: Metro Manila LGUs conduct 3rd #MMShakeDrill)
Ronald Suitado, Muntinlupa City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office training division chief, stressed the importance of swift and coordinated community response in the event of a 7.2-magnitude earthquake in the metro.
"[The DRRM office] is not the highlight here. We are just in the background," Suitado said in a mix of English and Filipino. "We should always assume that the disaster [management] office or the local [government] will not be able to respond immediately [after an earthquake]," he added.
Each barangay executed differing scenarios including managing evacuees and fire manipulation during the first two days of the #MMShakeDrill. (READ: What to expect at the 2017 #MMShakeDrill)
Meanwhile, the city government's simulation included burning fuel pipelines along Barangay Putatan and ferrying Bayanan Elementary School students across Laguna Lake.
Private sector response plan
During the first two days of the drill, the local disaster management office set ablaze an improvised fuel pipeline across Agro Homes in Barangay Putatan.
Disaster management officials said that there are two embedded fuel pipelines in the city owned by the First Philippine Industrial Corporation (FPIC) which may be damaged due to ground shaking. The pipeline runs from Batangas all the way to the Pandacan oil depot.
According to Engineer Edward Arciaga, chief of the Operations and Warning Division of the DRRM office, the FPIC assured them that the fuel pipelines can withstand the earthquake. Still, the local DRRM office included it in its contingency plan under a worst case scenario.
Arciaga told Rappler that fire broke out in the area in the 1990s when a road constructionsdamaged the piepeline. "We are conducting studies [in the area]," he said.
"The main actors of the drill should be the community and the private sector, as ordered by the (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority). That's why we wanted to test the response and resiliency of the grocery store Puregold. The (Bureau of Fire Protection) is there but only in the background," added Suitado.
Apart from a possible fire, looting of a grocery store was also simulated to test the establishment's response. (READ: Businesses should have continuity plans for disasters – MMDA, OCD)
Laguna de Bay as 'highway'
Scientists predict that bridges and roads will be impassable should the "Big One" happen.
In this case, the Muntinlupa City government is considering Laguna de Bay as a "highway" in transferring evacuees to the nearest evacuation site in Barangay Poblacion.
On the second day of the drill, Bayanan Elementary School students were transferred across the lake using motorized rescue boats.
Barangay Bayan, where the school is located, is one of the 8 liquefaction-prone areas in the city. The school is also considered as a "critical spot" according to disaster management officials. (READ: Fault-finders, storm-chasers: Hazard mapping in the PH)
"We will be using the Laguna Lake as a 'highway,' assuming that road networks become impassable to vehicles (because of collapsed structures and light posts)," said Suitado.
The 3rd #MMShakeDrill runs from July 14 to 17. It aims to spread awareness and prepare the public in the event of a 7.2-magnitude earthquake within our lifetime. (READ: How vulnerable is Manila to earthquakes?)
Local government units, private companies, and individuals participated in the different simulations when the #MMShakeDrill kicked off at 4 pm on Friday.
Alexa Yadao is a Rappler intern