The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said that the 2nd Metro Manila Shake Drill and National Simultaneous Earthquake Drill yesterday was a success.
“It was a success in the context that the objective for the exercise, which is to create awareness among our countrymen (of possible earthquake scenarios) has been achieved,” outgoing National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Executive Director and concurrent Office of Civil Defense administrator Alexander Pama said.
The MMDA said the event was a success with the huge participation of private institutions, government, schools, business sector, and the more than three billion views on social media.
MMDA Chairman Emerson Carlos said the figure is an indication of the public’s high level of awareness and preparation for a possible 7.2-magnitude earthquake generated by the West Valley Fault.
Carlos said he was amazed how creative Filipinos are playing out various simulated earthquake scenarios in four sectors of Metro Manila.
At 9 a.m., sirens were sounded, traffic was halted for a few seconds, work was disrupted, and participants performed the duck, cover, and hold technique while government and private institutions conducted several life-threatening aftermath scenarios.
MMDA rescue and emergency personnel sprang into action at exactly 9 a.m., signaling start of the drill. At the MMDA building, a fire suppression drill, collapsed structure, and evacuation of employees who were injured during a supposed stampede was held.
At the EDSA-Guadalupe area, there was simulation of bridge collapse, water rescue, vehicle on fire, collapse billboard structure, and vehicular accident, among others.
The MMDA also used the FireChat app during the drill which allows people to communicate anywhere via Bluetooth even without Internet connection or phone signal.
Manila City Hall employees received a failing mark from evaluators of the shake drill because many were unable to follow instructions on evacuation procedures.
At the sound of the siren, many employees hurriedly left the building toward their designated evacuation sites but others opted to stay inside to do their makeup and chat with each other.
A church volunteer, acting as an injured patient, suffered from high blood pressure during the event in Parañaque City.
Dr. Arman Arsenio, head of the Parañaque Rescue and Response Team, said a middle-aged female volunteer of the Baclaran Church was carried into an emergency ambulance when her blood pressure reached 160/100.
“Nagulat ‘yong mga tauhan ko kasi chineck namin siya bilang part ng proseso sa pag-rescue. Nang tignan nila, umabot sa 160 over 110 ‘yong BP niya,” Arsenio said. The volunteer stayed inside the ambulance until the end of the event.
Arsenio said hot weather or the reality of the event could have made the volunteer nervous.
(PNA, Anna Liza V. Alavaren, Martin A. Sadongdong, and Jean Fernando)