27 JUNE 2009

REF.:  MAKATI ICRD, 8998938

Makati steps up earthquake mitigation measures

Makati Mayor Jejomar C. Binay has ordered the Department of Education-Makati to prioritize the conduct of earthquake drills in all Makati public schools as part of the intensified disaster risk reduction program being implemented by the city government.

Binay, who is chairman of the Makati City Disaster Coordinating Council (MCDCC), has also ordered MCDCC to immediately coordinate with private building owners and tenants, particularly those in the Central Business District, on the holding of earthquake drills and other measures to strengthen their readiness in case a major earthquake hits the city.

“In light of renewed concerns over the high probability of a major earthquake hitting Metro Manila anytime, we need to step up our capability-building efforts to lessen the damage to lives and properties that can be inflicted by such an occurrence,” Binay said.

Binay was referring to recent news reports on the projected devastating impacts on Metro Manila of an earthquake with a magnitude of 7 or higher, which were presented by a senior United Nations official at the just-concluded Global Disaster Risk Reduction Conference in Geneva , Switzerland .

Binay said all 28 public elementary schools and 10 high schools of Makati must undergo earthquake drills as soon as possible.  At a meeting last Tuesday, Binay instructed DepEd chief Elena Ruiz to mobilize all school disaster coordinators to facilitate the proper and orderly execution of the drill in every school.

Binay said since last year, the city government has been pursuing various initiatives to strengthen its capability for earthquake mitigation and preparedness, including earthquake drills in public and private schools, the City Hall, barangay halls and other public buildings, and establishments in the Central Business District. City engineers and building officials have also been conducting regular inspections to monitor the structural stability of all public and private facilities in the city.

Binay said most of the city’s engineers are officers and members of the Makati Chapter of the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers (PICE), which has been actively involved in the Disaster Quick Response Program of the National Disaster Coordinating Council.

To date, all 33 barangays of Makati have organized and functional Barangay Disaster Coordinating Councils that focus on capability-building, including regular training and seminars on disaster preparedness for barangay officials and first-responders.

In January last year, the city government partnered with the Earthquakes and Megacities Inititative (EMI) for the conduct of a Localized Disaster Risk and Vulnerability Management.  A memorandum of understanding signed by Binay and EMI chairman Dr. Fouad Bendimerad became the launching pad for the implementation of the Makati Risk Sensitive Urban Redevelopment Planning pilot project, which is aimed to modify and lessen the physical, social and economic vulnerability of the city to earthquake-related hazards through a comprehensive land use planning.  Through the project, target areas for redevelopment in the city have been identified and subjected to risk assessment surveys and other studies vital to the formulation of a strategic action plan.

The multi-awarded MCDCC is considered one of the best in the country, while one of its components, Makati Rescue, has received many recognitions for its exemplary participation in search, rescue and relief operations extended even to other localities.  The Makati C3, the city’s own state-of-the-art command, control and communications center, serves the emergency needs of stakeholders on a 24/7 basis.


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