Preparing for the worst
By Hilda Austria
AFTER the deadly earthquake in Nepal that killed thousands of lives, our Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvocs) was alarmed by the possibility of the “Big One”, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that will originate from the West Valley Fault along the eastern side of Metro Manila and can literally shake the entire Metro Manila including nearby provinces, Pangasinan not exempted.
Aside from being possibly shaken to the core when this “Big One” hits, authorities are also worried and anxious about a possible tidal wave or tsunami that will trigger since the Manila trench can be expected to move by the massive resonation of the earth’s ground.
Dagupan City experienced extensive devastation when a magnitude 7. 7-earthquake shook the entire city last July 16, 1990 leaving the city, particularly the business district, in rubbles.
Although man cannot accurately know when calamities or disastrous phenomena will occur, I am glad that the city government has learned from that calamity and applying the lessons of the past.
Under the administration of Mayor Belen Fernandez, the Public Alert Response and Monitoring Center (PARMC) was created, presently headed by Prof. Nick Melecio. This is in addition to the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) that focuses mainly on monitoring calamities on a daily basis such as weather disturbances, earth movement and studying their collected data to create preparedness plans for worst cases scenarios.
The city government even procured high tech equipment like the earthquake monitoring device, tsunami early warning devices (in addition to what the Department of Science and Technology or DOST had provided) among others.
PARMC also tapped individuals to be part of the disaster preparedness plan through an arrangement with three-storey building owners in the city to allow their buildings to be used as an evacuation in the event a tsunami occurs.
The city government’s efforts are laudable.
I haven’t heard of a more comprehensive disaster-preparedness plan of other towns and cities in the province and I suggest they replicate Dagupan City’s best practices.
However, I hope the Dagupan City government and all our local government units would also consider preparing their constituents for the natural calamities but also prepare them for the worst, deaths.
Death can befall anyone in times of emergencies so it’s also important that we are prepared for it. Recall “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell”—Matthew10:28