MANILA, Philippines – There will be mass movement of people in the streets on September 21 but not all of them will have a political agenda.
For a generation of Filipinos, September 21 is remembered every year for that night in 1972 when then President Ferdinand Marcos officially announced he put the whole country under martial law.
On Thursday though, the whole country will again plunge into activity as the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center (NDRRMC) scheduled the 3rd Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) on that day.
The ceremonial venue this year for the earthquake drill will be the Strike Gymnasium in Bacoor City, Cavite.
“Inaanyayahan natin ang bawat isa sa September 21, 2 p.m., sabay-sabay tayong mag-duck, cover, and hold,” Office of Civil Defense spokesperson Romina Marasigan said. (We would like to invite everyone on September 21, 2 pm, to join us to duck, cover and hold)
Thr usual political rallies which will commemorate the declaration of martial law 45 years ago are also expected to be more passionate, with no less than President Rodrigo Duterte saying he was considering suspending government work and classes in Metro Manila.
“This early, I am announcing that I am ordering a holiday para walang masaktan, walang ano kung may demonstration diyan, magkagulo,” he said in an interview with PTV on September 14. (So that no one gets hurt if there is a demonstration there and it gets messy)
The quarterly simultaneous earthquake drill is held to test the preparedness and workflows of all government units in case a strong earthquake strikes Metro Manila.
According to the Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS), the movement of the West Valley Fault that is expected to happen within our lifetime is estimated to cause a 7.2 magnitude quake in Metro Manila and neighboring cities and towns. (READ: Preparing your family for an earthquake)
At least 35,000 people could die and thousands more injured, the study estimated. (READ: INFOGRAPHIC: How powerful is a magnitude 7.2 earthquake)
To spread awareness and start earthquake preparedness at homes and workplaces, NDRRMC also encouraged netizens to harness social media in influencing their friends to participate in the earthquake drill. The official hashtag for this year’s third NSED is #BidaAngHanda. – Rappler.com
Share your photos during the nationwide earthquake drill on agos.rappler.com/map