By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte has created an office that would ensure the resiliency and preparedness of the greater Metro Manila area (GMMA) in case a major earthquake strike the region.
In Executive Order (EO) no. 52, Duterte tasked the Program Management Office for Earthquake Resiliency of the GMMA to ensure that all government efforts in preparing for a massive earthquake are well-coordinated.
Duterte said the office shall be primarily responsible for earthquake preparedness, mitigation, and resiliency measures, while the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council’s (NDRRMC’s) Office of Civil Defense (OCD) shall take care of post-earthquake operations.
The new office is also tasked to undertake efforts to fast-track the implementation of interventions that would reduce the impact of a high-magnitude quake.
It is also mandated to formulate and operationalize a quake resiliency plan for the GMMA, ensure availability and adequacy of key lifelines that can be mobilized after a quake, and ensure the resiliency of critical infrastructure.
It shall also review, audit, monitor and provide feedback on the implementation of quake resiliency plans, and facilitate the development and conduct of advocacy and communication programs, drills, and exercises to promote earthquake awareness and resiliency.
The EO meanwhile mandates government agencies to ensure the resiliency of all public infrastructure in the GMMA.
Local government units (LGUs), on the other hand, are tasked to ensure the resiliency of private infrastructure and their compliance with the building code.
Duterte’s order also encourages agencies and private entities to go beyond the minimum standards set in the building code to ensure that all future infrastructures are fully earthquake resilient.
Experts have been warning that the West Valley Fault may be ripe for another movement that could trigger a possible 7.2-magnitude earthquake.
The said fault cuts across various cities in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
A study, funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), earlier revealed that the said quake may cost up to 34,000 lives and injure some 100,000.