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Para laging handa: Duterte creates quake resiliency body for Metro Manila

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President Duterte is preparing Metro Manila for the “Big One.”

The Chief Executive has issued Executive Order 52 creating the Program Management Office for Earthquake Resiliency of the Greater Metro Manila Area to ensure resiliency and preparedness of the metropolis in case of a massive earthquake

Signed on May 8, the order provides that the office shall be the body primarily responsible for earthquake preparedness, mitigation and resiliency measures.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council’s Office of Civil Defense shall take care of post-earthquake operations.

Government has been regularly holding earthquake drills in Metro Manila to prepare for the “Big One”, which refers to the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that could hit the metro if the West Valley Fault moves.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has said the fault moves every 400 to 600 years. It last moved in 1658 or 360 years ago.

The new office is tasked to undertake efforts to fast-track the implementation of interventions that would reduce the impact of a high-magnitude quake, formulate and operationalize a quake resiliency plan for the greater Metro Manila area, ensure the availability and adequacy of lifelines that can be mobilized after a quake and ensure the resiliency of critical infrastructure.

It shall also review, audit, monitor and provide feedback on the implementation of quake resiliency plans and facilitate the development and conduct of advocacy and communication programs, drills, and exercises to promote earthquake awareness and resiliency.

“Agencies as well as private entities are highly encouraged to go beyond the minimum standards set in the building code to ensure that all future infrastructures are fully earthquake resilient and compliant with international earthquake-resistant designs and standards,” the EO read.