The Center for Disaster Preparedness held its first of a series of orientation on earthquake preparedness on July 6, 2017 at Balay Kalinaw, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City. The orientation was entitled BIG PREP FOR THE BIG ONE, part of its flagship knowledge exchange program, Talakawayan.
In coordination with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), the orientation discussed topics on Anatomy of an Earthquake, the Philippine Fault System, and some practical tips, on what to do before, during and after an earthquake. “We usually talk about the BIG ONE but we don’t talk about the BIG PREP,” said Mayfouth Luneta, Deputy Executive Director of CDP, as she emphasized the activity's importance in her opening remarks.
While Joan Salcedo of PHIVOLCS pointed out that, “We cannot exactly predict when the Big One will happen, but certainly we can arm ourselves with right knowledge coupled with lifelike disaster imagination to save lives,” to the 45 participants who are residents of Metro Manila and nearby provinces .
Strengthened Government Measures
Amid the devastation of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake to be generated by the West Valley Fault, which is already ripe for movement, Salcedo added that the government has strengthened its disaster risk reduction measures through the formulation of Oplan Yakal Plus, the contingency plan of Metro Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MMDRRMC) for mega disasters. Oplan Yakal Plus proposes that Metro Manila may experience geographical partition into quadrants. As such, four quadrants are proposed for effective planning and response among neighboring local government units (LGUs) as follows:
North: Caloocan, Quezon City, Mandaluyong, San Juan, and Valenzuela;
East: Marikina and Pasig;
West: Malabon, Manila, and Navotas; and
South: Las Piñas, Makati, Muntinlupa, Parañaque, Pasay, Pateros, and Taguig.
Participants coming from the academe, business, faith-based organizations, media, military, government institutions, civil society organizations, and other interested individuals had the opportunity to raise questions during the event. “Activities like these are sensible and appropriate as we pursue disaster preparedness not only to our work but becoming a way of life,” one participant added as she challenged that earthquake preparedness activities must be applied into one’s day to day means.
Self and Family Preparedness Now
As an organization that advocates disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) for more than 17 years, CDP facilitated the second session on family and individual preparedness. “Disaster preparedness must be a way of life that begins at home,” Ms. Nikki Antonette De Vera, head of CDP’s Training and Capacity Development program, highlighted. Affordable and easy-to-do household preparedness measures were shown before the participants, such as community map and family emergency contact and directory. The participants have also experienced a short workshop on home hazard hunt where they identified potential risks within their homes and locality.
Easy-to-carry supplies were also shown using an Emergency Go Bag. The bag is made of durable yet lightweight material and contains pre-packed personal emergency supplies and documents that must be placed in an accessible area, preferably near the exits for immediate evacuation.
Platform for Advocacy and Knowledge Products
Through booth exhibits, CDP also showcased its published materials such as the CDP 2016 Annual Report, Filipino translation of the Core Humanitarian Standard, Community-based Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (CBDRRM) modules on Christian and gender perspectives so public may become aware of its advocacy. Various materials on earthquake preparedness and risk assessment were distributed among the participants.
To conclude the activity, Mayfourth underscored the value of investing in awareness raising strategies such as the conduct of preparedness orientation. “This creates an avenue to propagate the culture of preparedness among the general public as we intensify our advocacy at different levels,” she added.