Disaster Management Talk

by Helene Liza P. Broqueza (Training Assistant, San Juan CDRRMO)
photos by Mr. Geoffrey Miles L. Mercado (IB Psychology Teacher)

Last 02 June 2017, Xavier School’s Security Office in coordination with the IGNITE Office (the Faculty and Staff Development Office) organized a Disaster Management Talk for the faculty and staff. Three speakers were invited to share their expertise about Climate Change, Earthquake Hazard and Preparedness, and Preparing for Disasters. Mr. Bryant Wong (XS ’06), the school’s Safety Consultant, introduced each of the speakers. Below are excerpts from their respective talks.

Climate Change: Overview and Updates

“A Fight for Climate Change is a Fight for Life.”

Atty. Lim defines Climate Change as a social issue rather than a scientific issue brought about by human behavior. The rise in the global temperature is brought about by over consumption of humans, which can have severe effects, including the rise in sea level, inability of most species to adapt, reduced catch potential for marine fisheries, crop production is at a very high risk, and 50% decline in water availability.

Climate change is here. The rising sea levels contribute to greater storm surges; warming temperatures are linked to stronger storms; and extreme weather events lead to flooding, human death, and other damages. The Philippines is one of the most vulnerable, and it is the role of every Filipinos to mitigate, prepare, and to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change. To address climate change, we must change the way we live. Limit the use of fuel, consume less meat, use less plastic, practice waste segregation and recycling, and disseminate information regarding climate change to the public.

Climate change is already happening and it may take a hundred years to fix it, but what we can do is to prepare ourselves, change our lifestyle, and prepare our hearts. In times of disaster, we should respond with our heart, because climate change is not about our country alone but about life.

Speaker: Atty. Tecson John S. Lim, Chief of Staff and Executive Assistant, Climate Change Commission

Atty. Tecson Lim is a Xaverian from batch1995. He earned his Law Degree at the University of the Philippines. Atty. Lim was a former Provincial Administrator in Quirino Province, and was assigned in Tacloban City as City Administrator during typhoon Haiyan. He is currently the Chief of Staff and Executive Assistant of Climate Change Commission.

Earthquake Hazard and Preparedness

Located in one of the most active seismic and volcanic zones in the world, the Philippines is frequently affected by destructive earthquakes and seismic activities. As defined, an earthquake is a weak to violent shaking of the ground produced by the sudden movement of rock materials below the earth’s surface. The violent shaking of the earth may result in ground rupture, ground shaking, liquefaction, earthquake-induced landslides and tsunamis.

Earthquakes are either caused by the movement of faults or induced by the movement of magma, and in the Philippines, an active fault that Philvocs is currently closely monitoring is the Valley Fault System. The VFS is composed of the East Valley and the West Valley Fault. The WVF is 100km long that transects Bulacan, Metro Manila, Cavite, Batangas and Laguna. The WVF moved four times in the past 1400 years, with the interval of every 400-600 years, and the last major earthquake from the Valley Fault was in 1658.

Dir. Renato Solidum stated that “it (the Big One) can happen within our generation, not later but sooner.” Before an earthquake, know the risks and have a plan to reduce it, practice good housekeeping, be informed, and maintain an emergency survival bag. In an event of an earthquake, perform “Drop, Cover and Hold”, and when the shaking stops, take the fastest and safest way out.

There are still no available devices that can detect an impending earthquake, making it catastrophic but we can start preparing for it. Identify the risks within your area, know your plan, be informed, and help reduce the number of casualties.

Speaker: Karl Vincent C. Soriano, Seismological Observation and Earthquake Prediction Division, Philvocs

Mr. Karl Soriano earned his Master’s Degree on Disaster Management, Major in Tsunami Mitigation Program in Japan, and is currently a Science Research Specialist Seismologist at the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

Why Are We Preparing For Disasters?

Mr. Ramon Santiago, stimulated the minds of the audience with the question “Why are we preparing for disasters?” Metro Manila, the capital of the country is faced with developmental challenges: rapid growth and urbanization. With the population of 11.8 million (Night time population – Census 2010) exposed for natural and man-made disasters, everyone is at risk.

To address the pressing concerns for future disasters, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), launched Oplan Metro Yakal Plus – the contingency plan of the Metro Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MMDRRMC) that details the protocols and procedures in an event of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. The 7.2 magnitude killer quake dubbed as “The Big One” could happen when the West Valley Fault moves. The WVF that transects Bulacan, Metro Manila, Cavite and Laguna could also affect nearby provinces.

Based on the Greater Metro Manila Area Risk Analysis Project (GMMA-RAP), and Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS), in the event of a killer earthquake, Metro Manila will be divided into four quadrants brought about by the collapse of bridges and flyovers. Each quadrant is represented by a commander and emergency operations center that will operate round the clock.

The MMDA showcased various disaster preparedness measures such as the MMDA K9 Search and Rescue Unit; the procurement of high quality rescue tools and equipment; community-based disaster risk reduction; and the Metro Manila Shake Drill.

The Philippines is preparing for something significant – an event that can interrupt the normal lives of Filipinos. Everyone should test their readiness, preparations, systems and procedures to improve what the country already has after gaps and problems have been identified.

Speaker: Ramon J. Santiago, Head-Crisis Monitoring and Management Center, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority

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