Saturday, July 4, 2015

AFP prepares for 'Big One'

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 4): AFP prepares for 'Big One'

In line with efforts to prepare for the possible movement of the West Valley Fault, which could trigger a massive earthquake, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Saturday announced that it is constantly training and developing the disaster response skills of its personnel.

Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, AFP public affairs office chief, said that this is to ensure that military personnel will be capable of performing efficiently in disaster and calamity situations.

Just recently, the Joint Task Force-National Capital Region (JTF-NCR) had its Earthquake and Landslide Search and Rescue Orientation Course (ELSAROC) to ensure that the AFP will be able to respond to communities around Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City which might be affected by the quake.

Cabunoc said the AFP is also preparing its troops for flood incidents and other calamities.

"Last May, our officers and enlisted personnel underwent Flood Incident and Response Training (FIRST), Emergency Response Training (ERT) and Incident Command System (ICS) Training," he added.

The JTF-NCR also has an existing HADR Plan “Sagip Tulong 2,” an implementation plan to operational plan “TULONG-BAYANIHAN” & contingency plan “PAGYANIG” to assure the public that AFP will be at the ready when calamity strikes around the General Headquarters in Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo.

Deemed as the first responders for the whole metropolitan, it was important that zero casualty is aimed among the residents and personnel in Camp Aguinaldo.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Council (NDRRMC) formally announced the kick-off of National Disaster Consciousness Month last June 29.

In observance of the event, all personnel of AFP in Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo joined the camp-wide earthquake drill.

On July 30, the AFP will join the metro-wide earthquake drill managed by Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

These activities were also in line with the observance of National Disaster Consciousness Month of July which kicked off June 29.

Being situated in the "Pacific Ring of Fire,” between two tectonic plates (Eurasian and Pacific), Philippines is susceptible to high levels of seismic and volcanic activities.

According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, since 1968, the country has already been hit numerous times by catastrophic earthquakes with a magnitude of more than 6.0.

The strongest recorded earthquakes that struck the Philippines since 1968 occurred in 1976 in Moro Gulf and in 1990 in Panay with a magnitude of 7.9 which resulted to millions of losses and destruction.

Because of its geographical location, several active earthquake generators surround the region, making it one of the most hazard-prone countries in the world.

It is bisected longitudinally by the Philippine Fault which has several subsidiaries. One of which is the Valley Fault System (VFS) which run across the Greater Metro Manila Area (GMMA).

The Marikina Valley Fault, now known as the Valley Fault System (VFS), is thought to pose the greatest threat in the area because of its close proximity.

It contains two major segments, the West Valley Fault (WVF) and the East Valley Fault (EVF). WVF is approximately 100-km-long and runs through the areas of Quezon City, Marikina City, Pasig City, Makati City, Taguig City, Muntinlupa City, and the provinces of Bulacan (Doña Remedios Trinidad, Norzagaray, and San Jose Del Monte City), Rizal (Rodriguez), Laguna (San Pedro City, Biñan City, Sta. Rosa City, Cabuyao City, and Calamba City), and Cavite (Carmona, General Mariano Alvarez and Silang).

In the past 1,400 years, WVF has generated four major movements with an average interval of 200 to 400 years. The last recorded movement of the valley fault system was in 1658.

Because of this, another major movement is highly projected. The anticipated earthquake, which has been labeled as “The Big One,” can produce a magnitude of 7.2 that may result to a very destructive ground shaking, with intensity VIII on PHIVOLCS Earthquake Intensity Scale (PEIS), in Metropolitan Manila and nearby provinces.

This could put over 11 million lives and properties at risk.

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