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Sen. Aquino asked: Is Metro Manila ready for massive quake?

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, May 19 (PNA) – Alarmed by the strong earthquakes that killed thousands of people in Nepal, Senator Paolo Benigno ‘Bam’ Aquino IV proposes Senate inquiry to determine if Metro Manila is ready for massive quake.

”Is Metro Manila ready for massive quake?,” Aquino asked as he filed Senate Resolution No. 1354 seeking to assess the preparedness and capacity of the different stakeholders in case a massive earthquake hit the country.

Last Friday, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) director Renato Solidum reportedly said the West Valley Fault is already ripe for strong quake.

Aquino’s move to call for Senate inquiry stemmed from 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal that killed more than 8,000 people and the magnitude 7.2 tremor that shook Bohol and Cebu in 2013, killing over 200 people.

"There is a need to assess and strengthen the capacities and preparedness of the concerned national government agencies, local government units, and partner stakeholders to mitigate and prepare for, respond to, and recover from the impact of a massive earthquake," Aquino said.

Aquino stressed the need to institutionalize systems, plans, programs and approaches to beef up disaster resilience of local communities, especially in vulnerable areas in the Greater Metro Manila Area (GMMA).

He said the GMMA is vulnerable to earthquakes because of the presence of a Valley Fault System (VFS) composed of a 10-kilometer East Valley Fault in Rizal and a 100-kilometer West Valley Fault that runs through different cities and municipalities of Bulacan, Rizal, Metro Manila, Cavite and Laguna.

Based on a study conducted by the Metropolitan Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study in 2004, a potential rupture of the 90-kilometer West Valley Fault would lead to heavy or partial damage to 40 percent of all residential buildings, 34,000 deaths, and 114,000 injuries.

"A significant factor in ensuring earthquake safety is ensuring the ability of houses, buildings and all public infrastructure to withstand earthquakes even with magnitudes of 8 to 10," Aquino said.

With this, Aquino called to audit the safety of existing and future construction projects to ensure their strict adherence to relevant and appropriate regulations, standards and guidelines, including those provided by the National Building Code.

”We should make sure that everything is ready. Locations of houses and buildings must be checked for safety based on the VFS Atlas recently published by Phivolcs,” Aquino said.

Aquino said both the national and local government should do everything to avoid the damages suffered by Nepal. (PNA)


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