By Priam Nepomuceno
MANILA – The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Thursday called on the public to participate in all earthquake drills aimed at reducing casualties as there are still no means to predict when temblors would occur.
“We call on everyone to join the drill once again as part of our effort to reinforce earthquake preparedness. Earthquakes can happen anytime without warning and sometimes they can be as devastating as what happened in Türkiye,” NDRRMC executive director Undersecretary Ariel Nepomuceno said, as the country is slated to hold its first quarter Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) at 2 p.m. Thursday.
Nepomuceno, who is also Office of Civil Defense (OCD) administrator, said preparedness matters in reducing casualties caused by earthquakes. “Preparedness always matters. Let us work together to reduce the possible impacts of earthquakes. We hope for the widest participation in the upcoming drill,” he added.
The main ceremonial pressing of the button to be led by the NDRRMC officials will be held in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City and will focus on a magnitude 7.2 earthquake scenario.
This will be followed by a functional exercise where NDRRMC members will be participating.
Regional DRRMCs, meanwhile, shall lead the implementation of simultaneous earthquake drills in their respective areas.
The exercise seeks to test the capabilities of the member agencies in responding to the impacts of a devastating earthquake and the existing harmonized contingency plan for the magnitude 7.2 earthquake in Greater Metro Manila.
NDRRMC member agencies, including the assisting regional DRRMCs, are expected to demonstrate their interoperability and coordinating mechanisms on earthquake disaster response.
The exercise also aims to identify possible gaps and recommend needed enhancements to current plans, policies, and procedures for earthquake response.
NDRRMC musters HADR equipment
Also on Thursday, the NDRRMC mustered its humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) capability resources in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
Search and rescue teams teams from the Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Army, Philippine Air Force, Bureau of Fire Protection, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority-Public Safety Division, Department of Health and the OCD assembled and various equipment of each team were showcased at the Camp Aguinaldo Grandstand.
Department of National Defense Acting Undersecretary Angelito De Leon, Nepomuceno, OCD deputy administrator, Assistant Secretary Bernardo Rafaelito Alejandro IV, Bureau of Fire Protection Chief Supt. Romel Tradio and Armed Forces of the Philippines vice chief-of-staff Vice Adm. Rommel Anthony Reyes graced the event.
“Today’s mustering and simulation activities fulfill our commitment to the Filipino people to ensure preparedness and optimum performance in the conduct of search and rescue operations,” de Leon said.
“My heartfelt gratitude to all the dedicated men and women who joined us today to demonstrate their humanitarian and disaster response readiness,” he added. (PNA)