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Makati resumes quake drive

The city government of Makati has resumed its campaign raising awareness to residents about the “Big One” earthquake and the risk living near the West Valley Fault.

City officials led by Mayor Abigail Binay on Wednesday conducted a dialog with residents of Barangay Rizal to inform them about the city’s contingency plan, and to warn those living within the five-meter easement on both sides of the fault, declared as “danger zones,” of the risks they face if they do not relocate.

Authorities said the West Valley Fault can generate a large earthquake with 7.2 magnitude, which poses a threat to people’s lives, buildings and infrastructure, and livelihood.

The Makati Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office has organized a series of dialogs for Rizal and three other barangays transected by the fault line, as part of the city’s effort to build resilient and sustainable communities.

Speaking to 345 residents and officials of Rizal, Binay urged the residents to relocate for their own safety, as seismologists say the fault is already ripe for movement and could cause a massive earthquake in Metro Manila.

“We cannot predict exactly when the earthquake will happen, but it is inevitable. Earthquakes are not like typhoons, which can easily be detected through weather instruments. Thus, we must not be complacent,” the mayor said.

Currently, there are 99 lots in Rizal tagged within the danger zone, while Comembo has eight lots, Pembo has 93, and East Rembo 113.

Binay said although there will be no forced eviction for residents who refuse to relocate, they will be asked to sign a waiver stating they accept the risks, and that they expect no assistance from the city government. She also clarified the city government will not purchase the affected lots.

Those who will agree to relocate will receive financial assistance from the city government, the mayor said.

Binay said since most lots are usually occupied by more than one family, their financial aid will be computed on a per-household basis. She added the lots that will be vacated will be cleared of structures and will be converted into linear parks.

Makati Mayor Abigail Binay

For residents not living within the danger zone, the city government has partnered with Build Change, a non-government organization that will help them in assessing and reinforcing their houses.

The assembly was also attended by Makati Second District Rep. Luis Campos Jr., other city officials, and representatives from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology or Phivolcs.

Jeffrey Perez, science research specialist of Phivolcs, advised residents to make their houses sturdy, as he showed photographs of fault ruptures during the Luzon earthquake on July 16, 1990, the Masbate earthquake on Feb. 15, 2003, and the 7.2-magnitude earthquake in North Bohol on Oct. 15, 2013.

Makati DRRMO head Richard Raymond Rodriguez said the West Valley Fault portion in Makati is approximately three kilometers long and transects four barangays in the city. It is expected to affect more than 400 households in Comembo (0.16 km), East Rembo (1.07 km), Pembo (0.82 km), and Rizal (0.83 km).

Last week, a similar dialog was held in Barangay Comembo, where over 120 residents participated. Pembo is scheduled for a dialog on March 22, and East Rembo on March 29.

The West Valley Fault Marker Installation Project, based on the Walk-the-Fault activity conducted by the city government and Phivolcs, will also be implemented soon in the four barangays.

The project aims to raise the awareness of residents and other stakeholders on the actual track of the WVF. 

The 155 identified areas for the markers and “mohon” (concrete landmarks) in the four barangays are as follows: East Rembo (33 mohons and 27 markers); Comembo (three mohons and two markers); Pembo (34 mohons and 19 markers); and Rizal (20 mohons and 17 markers).

Topics: Makati City , Mayor Abigail Binay , The “Big One” earthquake , West Valley Fault
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