By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) appealed to the public to refrain from disseminating false information about an impending 7.1-magnitude earthquake in Metro Manila.
The online post claimed that a 100-kilometer fault line will trigger the powerful earthquake.
Phivolcs explained that part of the viral message was lifted from Phivolcs’ Oplan Yakal Plus, a contingency plan meant to describe the possible severe impacts of a powerful earthquake triggered by the movement of the West Valley Fault System.
In 2004, Phivolcs and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, together with Japan International Cooperation Agency, conducted a study called the Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study, which analyzed 18 earthquake scenarios in and around Metro Manila.
The study found that the West Valley Fault System, which traverses Sierra Madre mountain range, Marikina City up to Tagaytay City is considered to have the largest impact to Metro Manila should it generate a large earthquake.
With a major earthquake measuring 7.2-magnitude, the study conducted in 2002-2004 found that 170,000 residential houses could collapse, 340,000 residential houses will possibly be partly damaged, 34,000 persons could die, and 114,000 persons could be injured.
Phivolcs pointed that the false information circulating online missed out important measures being undertaken by various government agencies to minimize the impact of a destructive earthquake in Metro Manila.
The agency reiterated that it cannot predict when or where an earthquake will occur.
Phivolcs said the 6.1-magnitude earthquake that struck parts of Luzon, including Metro Manila, Monday was possibly generated by a local fault in Zambales, and not the West Valley Fault System situated in eastern Metro Manila.
Read more: Strong 6.1 quake jolts Metro, Luzon
“Please do not send or forward any information that may further cause confusion and fear to those who could receive the message,” Phivolcs warned.
Instead, it advised the public to stay calm and be alert.
In case of another earthquake, Phivolcs urged the public to do the duck/drop, cover and hold and move to a safe area after the shaking.