Old structures in Manila need checking for quality, safety — Solidum

Marje Pelayo

Science and Technology Undersecretary Renato Solidum has recommended placing under quality assessment all old structures in the city of Manila.

This is in reaction to Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso’s remarks about the city’s lack of a concrete risk reduction management plan or a detailed hazard map.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) Director said the local government of Manila should primarily address the city’s disaster preparedness and capability ahead of the ‘Big One’ or the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that the West Valley Fault may generate in the future.

“Tingnan kung ano ba ang kalidad ng mga bahay at gusali (Check the quality of the houses and buildings),” Solidum noted.

“Ang Manila maraming luma. Marami ding informal settlement at marami diyan non-engineered ang mga bahay (Manila has a lot of old (structures), a lot of informal settlement and most of them are non-engineered houses),” he added.

Based on a report from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the city of Manila is a ‘total failure’ when it comes to disaster resilience or its capability to respond in natural disasters and other hazards.

Solidum explained that Manila’s base being a coastal city is prone to liquefaction because it is near Manila Bay.

“Ang kaibahan ng Quezon city sa Manila ay matigas ang foundation ng Quezon city. (Ang) Manila (ay) hindi, kundi malambot (The difference between Quezon City and Manila is that Quezon City has a solid foundation. With Manila, no. It has a yielding base),” Solidum said.

The Quezon City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (QCRRMC) has received the 2018 Gawad Kalasag Award as the Best Local DRRMC under the Highly Urbanized Category.

They have assigned six district evacuation sites other than Quezon City circle.

According to the head of the QCDRRMO Myke Marasigan, they have included in their contingency plan the color-coded alert level to be able to immediately respond to earthquake situations.

“If the magnitude and the epicenter is near Quezon city, for example 5.5 below, then we could always trigger the yellow alert meaning on-call, standby and do damage assessment immediately,” Marasigan explained.

The QCDRRMO also conducts regular earthquake drills to prepare the residents for potential ground shaking.

The city government is making sure of preparing all barangays since they cannot rescue everyone at the same time.

“They will be ready as an individual, ibig sabihin meron kang (meaning you have your) ‘Go Bag’ ready or disaster kits na sinasabi natin,” Marasigan said.

“Susunod niyan as a family kung nagusap-usap na ba tayo pag halimbawa lumildol magkakahiwalay tayo saan tayo mag-mi-meetup? (Next is the family. Have you set up a plan that in case of an earthquake and you’ve been separated from one another, where should you meet?),” he added.

According to Solidum, the city of Manila is able to prepare its residents but it is important that they do it systematically. – with details from Rey Pelayo.

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