Bartolome Bautista, deputy director of Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), points to the epicenter of the magnitude 6.8 earthquake which hit central Philippines on Monday Feb. 6, 2012 during a news conference at suburban Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines. Officials said the quake in central Philippines killed at least five people as it destroyed buildings, triggered landslides that buried dozens of houses, trapping residents and listed 29 more as missing. (MNS photo)

Bartolome Bautista, deputy director of Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), points to the epicenter of the magnitude 6.8 earthquake which hit central Philippines on Monday Feb. 6, 2012 during a news conference at suburban Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines. Officials said the quake in central Philippines killed at least five people as it destroyed buildings, triggered landslides that buried dozens of houses, trapping residents and listed 29 more as missing. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – Following the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that devastated Nepal last month, Senator Bam Aquino is urging the Senate to evaluate the capacity and preparedness of government and various stakeholders in case a massive quake hits the Greater Metro Manila Area (GMMA).

“There is a need to assess and strengthen the capacities and preparedness of the concerned national government agencies, local government units, and partner stakeholders to mitigate and prepare for, respond to, and recover from the impact of a massive earthquake,” Aquino said in Senate Resolution 1354.

The government, private sector and non-government organizations must be able to fortify the safety and disaster resilience of local communities, especially in the most vulnerable areas, the senator said.

He cited Nepal’s deadly earthquake that killed more than 8,000 people and the magnitude 7.2 tremor that shook Bohol and Cebu and killed more than 200 people in 2013.

Kailangang matuto tayo sa nangyari sa Nepal, sa Cebu at Bohol. Huwag na nating hintayin pang maraming buhay ang mawala at mga ari-arian ang masira,” Aquino said.

GMMA is vulnerable to earthquakes because of the presence of a Valley Fault System composed of a 10-kilometer East Valley Fault in Rizal and a 100-kilometer West Valley Fault that runs through the cities and municipalities of Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Metro Manila.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has released the Valley Fault System Atlas, a collection of large-scale maps that detail the areas near an earthquake fault.

The 2004 Metropolitan Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study showed a potential rupture of the 90-kilometer West Valley Fault would lead to heavy or partial damage to 40 percent of all residential buildings, 34,000 deaths, and 114,000 injuries, Aquino noted.

“A significant factor in ensuring earthquake safety is ensuring the ability of houses, buildings and all public infrastructure to withstand earthquakes even with magnitudes of 8 to 10,” the senator said.

There is an urgent need to audit the safety of existing and future construction projects to ensure they strictly adhere to relevant and appropriate regulations, standards and guidelines that include those under the National Building Code, the Senator noted.

Dapat nating tiyakin na tayo’y handa sa pagtama ng malakas na lindol at siguruhin ang kaligtasan ng lahat,” the senator said.

Safety in terms of locations of houses and buildings must be checked against the Valley Fault System Atlas, he added.  (MNS)