The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC)on Thursday led the 4th Quarter Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) in this town as part of continuing efforts to boost awareness and preparedness of the local governments and residents on hazards during earthquakes.
Mayor Roynaldo Soriano thanked the NDRRMC for choosing Casiguran as the ceremonial venue of this quarter’s earthquake and tsunami drill, which aims to promote the importance of disaster preparedness and mitigation to all stakeholders, as well as strengthen the response mechanism and interoperability of all local key players.
“Ang mga mamayan ng Casiguran ay natutuwa dahil ang aming bayan ang napili bilang ceremonial site ng NSED. Malaki ang mabibigay na tulong kaalaman at kahandaan nito sa aming mga kababayan (The people of Casiguan are delighted that our town was chosen as the ceremonial site of NSED. This will provide a great source of knowledge and preparation for our townmates),” Soriano said during the event.
Soriano, together with some NDRRMC officials, led the ceremonial pressing of the button to signal the start of the conduct of the NSED in Barangay Esteves here where the local disaster and risk reduction councils demonstrated their earthquake and tsunami contingency plan through a simulation exercise.
A one-minute alarm signified the start of the “ground shaking” due to a powerful earthquake.
All participants executed the drop-cover-hold position, which is considered the safest action to reduce injury and death during an earthquake.
As soon as the ground shaking stopped, teachers at the Martin Esteves Elementary School guided their students toward the designated evacuation area.
Under the same scenario, residents of the coastal community immediately evacuated to higher grounds for fear of the occurrence of the tsunami.
A barangay vehicle with a bandillo was sent immediately to give a message assuring residents that the local government is on top of the situation.
The MDRRMC was instructed to activate the emergency operation center.
Likewise, an incident command post was established for the needed response.
A mobile command and control vehicle equipped with surveillance and medical devices and medical triage was also used as an incident command post.
Shelby A. Ruiz , chief of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Division of the Office of the Civil Defense 3 (Central Luzon), commended the local government of Casiguran, as well as the local disaster risk reduction council for their good performance in the simulation exercise.
Ruiz, however, cited the need for continuous training, preparations and awareness programs to instill in the minds of the people to be always ready and prepared in case of disasters.
“Gusto nating ma-instill sa ating mga kababayan kung ano ang mga dapat gawin bago, habang, at pagkatapos ng lindol (We want to instill among our countrymen on what they should do before, during and after the earthquake), ” she said in an interview.
Casiguran was chosen as the ceremonial site for this quarter’s NSED as the town experienced a tsunami resulting from a 7.3 magnitude and intensity VIII earthquake in 1968.
Meanwhile, Department of Science and Technology Secretary Renato Solidum was in Tacloban City to witness the national quake drill.
Solidum, Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, and Office of Civil Defense 8 (Eastern Visayas) Director Lord Byron Torrecarion led in pushing the switch button, signaling the start of the drill.
The scenario for the drill was a magnitude 7 quake hitting the Philippine trench and a tsunami warning was issued.
City government employees also evacuated to safer grounds along with students of the Rizal Central School facing the Cancabato Bay. They participated in the evacuation amid the downpour.
In his closing message after the drill, Solidum emphasized the importance of the activity that aims to prepare the public for the so-called The Big One. (PNA)