SUBIC BAY FREEPORT, Philippines – The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) announced on Wednesday, October 30, the installation of a tsunami alert system at the Sueste Point in this free port, thus beefing up Subic Bay’s capability in disaster preparedness.
SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia said the Tsunami Early Warning System (TeWS) here forms part of a string of early warning systems installed in selected high-risk coastal communities in the country.
The sensors in the system communicate signals to alerting sirens strategically located at 5 designated areas in the Subic Bay area – one at Bldg. 657 in the Subic Bay Freeport, two at Barangay Wawandue in Subic town, and another two at Barangay Barretto in Olongapo City.
Maj. Vicente Tolentino, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) coordinator of the SBMA, said the Subic authority is now gearing up for a tsunami-preparedness program after systems installation is completed.
“As of now, we are currently in the stage where we are coordinating with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) regarding the training and education of stakeholders, employees and residents on how to utilize the system and how to respond properly during tsunami emergencies,” said Tolentino, who is also chief of the Special Reaction Division of the SBMA Law Enforcement Department.
He added that the TeWS sensor here would be particularly helpful due to the presence of the Manila Trench, which runs off the west coast of Luzon. Earthquakes and volcanoes in west Luzon are associated with this geologic feature.
Tolentino also explained that the TeWS sensor system is designed to detect wave abnormalities in the coastal waters of Subic Bay.
The tsunami detection equipment is composed of a platform with a pole equipped with different sensors. These include an ultrasonic tide sensor, dry sensor, and wet sensor at specific heights of one meter, five meters, and ten meters.
Tolentino added that the SBMA may eventually press for installation of additional sirens for better coverage of warning signals from the sensor, as the lone siren in the Subic Bay Freeport would not be enough.
The installation of the tsunami alert system in the Subic Bay area was contained in a memorandum of agreement signed by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and its Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI), the city of Olongapo, municipality of Subic, and the SBMA in November 2012.
The agreement also required the SBMA, Subic, and Olongapo to prepare and produce community-based evacuation plans.
Aside from Subic Bay, the PHILVOLCS-ASTI of the DOST has also completed the installation of TeWS in Lingayen Gulf, Albay Gulf, Manila Bay and Batangas Bay. – Rappler.com