President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and other Cabinet officials participated in the Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) for the first quarter of 2023.
The earthquake drill, which started at 2 p.m., was held at Malacañan Palace.
Mr. Marcos was accompanied by Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Hubert Guevara, Special Assistant to the President Antonio Ernesto Lagdameo Jr., National Security Adviser Eduardo Año, Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos Jr.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) earlier encouraged the public to join earthquake drills to reduce casualties as there are still no means to predict when temblors would occur.
The quarterly conduct of the nationwide earthquake drills each year is an effort of the government to promote disaster preparedness and resilience among Filipinos.
The following are steps or protocols to stay safe during an earthquake:
• When inside a building, stay calm and do the “Duck, Cover, and Hold”;
• Duck under a strong table and hold on to it. Stay alert for potential threats;
• Stay away from glass windows, shelves and heavy objects;
• After the shaking stops, exit the building and go to the designated evacuation area;
• When outside, move to an open area, stay away from buildings, trees, electric posts and landslide-prone areas;
• If you are in a moving vehicle, stop and exit the vehicle.
In December last year, Climate Change Commission (CCC) vice chairperson and executive director Robert Borje assured that the government is “doing all it can” to boost the country’s emergency preparedness and response during earthquakes.
In 2018, former President Rodrigo Duterte issued Executive Order No. 52, creating the Program Management Office for Earthquake Resiliency of the greater Metro Manila area and tasked it to ensure that all government efforts in preparing for a huge quake are well coordinated.
EO 52 defines the institutional roles and responsibilities of government agencies to strengthen the country’s resilience to earthquakes, and to ensure public safety and government continuity.
The government has been regularly holding earthquake drills in Metro Manila to prepare for the so-called “big one” or a worst-case scenario of an earthquake from the West Valley Fault.
The Philippines is situated in the Pacific Ring of Fire, a path along the Pacific Ocean characterized by active volcanoes and frequent earthquakes.