by Hannah Torregoza
Senator Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV yesterday lauded the efforts of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to hold a nationwide earthquake drill but insists that more work needs to be done to avert casualties when a tremor strikes.
Aquino said the government needs to ramp up earthquake-resiliency programs, including ensuring that different structures are quake proof, to avoid loss of lives when a “Big One” hits Metro Manila and different parts of the country.
“Earthquake drills help the community prepare for quakes but there is more we must do to reduce the loss of life. Dapat rin nating tingnan kung matibay at ligtas ba ang mga istruktura sa bansa,” Aquino said
Aquino, who chairs the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, recently held a hearing to look into whether the scientific data gathered by Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) is effectively disseminated to allay fears and combat the prevalence of false information online.
The committee probe was also aimed to prepare communities in the occurrence of destructive tremors. But during the hearing, several issues were raised, including the resiliency of structures against strong tremors and the congestion in the Metro Manila, which can contribute to the number of fatalities if not properly addressed.
Based on Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum’s assessment, if the magnitude 6.7 earthquake that killed nine people in Surigao del Norte last February happened in Metro Manila, around 23,000 people would perish.
The senator, thus, emphasized that the high number of fatalities could be avoided if structures and residential houses comply with the Building Code, enabling them to withstand earthquakes of up to magnitude 8 to 9.
That is why he said, a periodic review on the resiliency of structures is necessary, especially on residential houses, to ensure that it can withstand strong tremors and avoid loss of lives.
Likewise, the lawmaker said concerned government agencies and local government units (LGUs) should make sure that buildings, houses and other structures can withstand strong earthquakes.
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