IN PHOTOS: Iloilo City leads first nationwide earthquake drill for 2019

local army and police officials duck, cover, and hold during a simulation at the iloilo city dinagyang grandstand
DUCK. Local army and police officials duck, cover, and hold during a simulation at the Iloilo City Dinagyang Grandstand on Thursday, February 21, 2019. Photo by Rhick Albay/Rappler

Around 5,000 to 8,000 people in Iloilo participates in shake drills in their area

— (ILOILO CITY, Philippines) The 1st Quarter Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) for 2019 kicked off at the new Iloilo City Dinagyang Grandstand on Thursday, February 21.

The grandstand served as the ceremonial venue of the NSED, which is an effort to boost disaster awareness and preparedness in the Philippines.

Officials from several national government agencies involved in disaster response and preparedness oversaw drills and simulations in 5 key areas around Iloilo City: John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University, SM City Iloilo, Iloilo Business Park, Iloilo Mission Hospital, and Iloilo City Hall.

The National Economic and Development Authority, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Department of Interior and Local Government, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development were present on Thursday.

“Today we are here in Iloilo City, one of the most progressive cities in the country. However, like other Philippine metropolis, it is prone to natural disasters – one of which would be the possibility of a large earthquake,” DOST Undersecretary Renato Solidum said in his opening message.

The NSED simulated a magnitude 8 earthquake, the strength of which would make it difficult for people to stand up when the tremors occur.

“There is a pressing need to prepare for these earthquakes through simulations like this drill, so citizens will know what to do when the eventuality occurs,” Solidum added.

The simultaneous nationwide drill began with the ceremonial pressing of a button at 2 pm.

ndrrmc and local government officials lead the ceremonial pressing of the button to signal the start of the 1st nationwide simultaneous earthquake drill
START. NDRRMC and local government officials lead the ceremonial pressing of the button to signal the start of the 1st Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill for 2019 at 2 pm on Thursday, February 21, 2019. Photo by Rhick Albay/Rappler

The Office of Civil Defense estimates that during the activity, around 5,000 to 8,000 participants in the 5 key areas in Iloilo performed basic earthquake responses such as “duck, cover, and hold,” as well as evacuation and response routines.

In his speech, Solidum highlighted the 1948 Lady Caycay earthquake which devastated Iloilo City and Panay. He talked about the possibility that another large earthquake could hit the region in our lifetime.

Dubbed by locals as Lady Caycay (after the Hiligaynon word describing the scratches left on the ground by chickens), the earthquake caused numerous fissures in the province’s mountain regions. It destroyed Spanish-era stone churches and triggered a tsunami in the Iloilo Strait.

An enduring reminder of Lady Caycay’s wrath is the iconic belfry of the Jaro Cathedral. While the first story of the tower made of limestone and bricks can still be seen today, the second and third stories crumbled and were restored only in the 1990s.

Solidum said the Lady Caycay earthquake is just one of the many large magnitude earthquake events to have hit Panay, generated by the very active West Panay Fault in the Madjaas Mountain Range.

“Every century, there is a major earthquake in the West Panay Fault…. We need to equip the Ilonggos with the awareness to face this eventuality,” he warned.

The Department of National Defense Undersecretary Reynaldo Mapagu, who was Thursday’s keynote speaker, doubled down on Solidum’s key points, citing the importance of disaster preparedness.

“Readiness – whether in times of peace, war, or disasters – is the key to success…. We seek to empower our people to not just be victims of disasters, but be resilient survivors,” Mapagu said.

Schools, local government units, government offices, and civilians from all over the Philippines also participated in the 1st NSED for 2019.

Below are some scenes of shake drills from different parts of the country:

grade school students from mabini elementary school in baguio city
PREPARED. Grade school students from Mabini Elementary School in Baguio City join the 1st National Simultaneous Earthquake Drill on February 21. Photo by Mau Victa/Rappler
the sm mall in fairview, quezon city takes part in the 1st quarter nationwide simultaneous earthquake drill
EVACUATION. The SM Mall in Fairview, Quezon City takes part in the 1st Quarter Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill to prepare for disasters. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler
a simulation shows how people would respond in case of disasters during the 1st quarter nationwide simultaneous earthquake drill
SAVE. A simulation shows how people would respond in case of disasters during the 1st Quarter Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake drill at SM Fairview in Quezon City on Thursday, February 21. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler
manila police district personnel participate in the 1st quarter nationwide simultaneous earthquake drill
COVER. Manila Police District personnel participate in the 1st Quarter Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill at MPD headquarters in Manila on February 21, 2019. Photo by Lito Borras/Rappler

 


by Rhick Lars Vladimer Albay | Rappler.com

 

Related:

#MMShakeDrill 2018 still ‘far from perfect’ – MMDA officials
NDRRMC, LGUs hold 2nd nationwide earthquake drill
MMDA’s #MMShakeDrill: How everything worked