By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
With Iloilo City as the pilot site of the nationwide simultaneous earthquake drill (NSED) on Feb. 21, 2019, the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD)-6 hopes to increase the level of awareness of the public, especially the youth.
Ma. Aletha Nogra, chief of OCD-6’s Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Division, recalled Lady Caycay, the 8.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Panay 70 years ago, and stressed that it is necessary for the younger generation to be conscious and aware of possible hazards like earthquakes.
“We’re having this intensive campaign for the upcoming NSED to educate our people especially yung mga younger generation na hindi naka-experience ng Lady Caycay or any earthquake, it should be in their knowledge and consciousness that earthquakes are possible hazards in our area,” Nogra said.
Lady Caycay toppled and destroyed the Jaro belfry alongside other churches in Panay Island on January 25, 1948.
Since the region is surrounded with multiple earthquake generators, Nogra underscored the importance of being aware of the possible recurrence of Lady Caycay.
“Earthquakes, because of our strategic location, they recur because we are situated within the earthquake generator areas. Ang Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) sa ila nga assessment, earthquake hazards and occurrences nagarecur na siya so para makaprepare kita and ang aton community and populace we do this earthquake drill quarterly,” she said.
Nogra explained that earthquakes in the region could be triggered by the West Panay Fault, Tablas Fault, Negros Trench, and Central Negros Fault in Negros Island.
“Kon properly informed kita about these risks and hazards kabalo kita kon ano aton mahimo, we are confident that we can manage kon ano ang further risk nga madala sang amo ni nga hazard,” she emphasized.
Instead of panicking, Nogra reiterated that the public should practice the basic response during earthquakes.
“Kinanghanglan i-inculcate na naton and we should make this a way of life na indi bala kita magpanic kon may earthquake. Ang basic response dapat sa aton na mind nga kon may linog gani, duck, cover, and hold to protect our self para maging safe kita,” Nogra emphasized.
Nogra also encouraged the youth to support their campaign on social media by using the following hashtags: #NSED2019 #ResilientPH and #BidaAngHanda.
According to Nogra, the more people who will use the hashtags the more it would translate in increasing awareness and higher recall of the information acquired from the drill.
“As part of our information education campaign, makita naton kon how much sa aton population ang aware. Through this, we can also gather ang mga responses, action taken, and level of preparedness ara especially ang aton generation mahilig sa social media, the higher the shares mas mataas ang awareness, and the more we use our hashtag indi naton malipatan ang mga information,” she said.
As the national pilot site for the 2019 NSED on Feb. 21, Iloilo City will highlight the interoperability, protocols, and standard operating procedures of concerned agencies during emergencies, according to City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) head Donna Magno.
The nationwide drill which is expected to involve around 8,0000 participants will test the interoperability of the different agencies and stakeholders in the five key areas in the city.
The first site will be at Barangay Sto. Nino Sur in Arevalo district while the second site is in SM City.
Meanwhile, the last three sites are Megaworld, Iloilo Mission Hospital and the Iloilo City Hall.