Forgotten lessons on earthquake drill

By July 31, 2022Punchline

By Ermin Garcia Jr.



ANYARE sa “DROP-COVER-HOLD”? Then walking briskly to safety? Gone with the wind. Why so?

It must have been really frustrating on the part of the personnel of our Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Offices (DRRMO) in the province, towns and cities on seeing their communities panic and rushing out of their homes, office and school buildings, forgetting all that they’ve been taught to do in the middle of an earthquake.

Indeed, more people could have been hurt by rushing out, shoving others out of the way  like many did if the tremblor shook longer.

So here’s why and things happened the way they did.

The lessons taught by our DRRMOs were obviously never brought home! The lessons learned were compartmentalized in our minds like these were meant for outside group activity, but we never saw these as relevant to our lives at home.

Which families actually tried to get everyone in the family involved in a discussion, preparing for an earthquake? Did we point out the safest places in each room? Did we prepare and distribute our “Go Bags’ (with flashlights, whistles, bottle of water, gum) to each member of the family? Do we remind everyone to have their phones fully charged before going to bed?

That’s what perhaps our DRRMOs took for granted –  that the lessons imparted are not learned unless done by families in their homes! The lessons are meant to be absorbed and practiced in practical ways – at home. Only then will communities remember that these were lessons learned at home!

It’s not too late to engage the whole family for a home activity preparing for the worse.

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THE EpaLifes STRIKE AGAIN! The EpaLiFes at the Dagupan Sanggunian must be frothing in the mouth every week, raring to show who’s the boss being the new powerful majority. They think they can impress the city residents with a show of force in every way.  

They first session after their inaugural had to be adjourned  because they boycotted the session if only to show that the SP can’t function without them. Then they showed up in their campaign uniforms the following week to show all and sundry that they are the victorious barkada that can’t go wrong. Then, they crafted and unilaterally approved the new House Rules without giving the minority a chance to debate or question some of the rules that were in violation of the Local Government Code.

Well, I thought wrong when I surmised that the next thing they’ll do would be to have their favorite songs played while they enter the session hall. Boy, was I wrong! 

They outdid themselves this time and did worse!

They completely ignored the legal processes when they endorsed the application of Eternal Gardens, the same application  that was flatly rejected by their predecessors,  and resorted to illegal shortcuts to justify their endorsement of the Eternal Gardens. 

The EpaLiFes knew that 1) The resolution of the Barangay Tapuac Council submitted to them was passed without the benefit of a public hearing. 2) The Zoning Officer approved the backfilling without SP resolution. 3) The city secretary called attention to the discrepancies in documents submitted by Eternal Gardens 4) The minority asked for more time to review the documents in question.  

The EpaLiFes, obviously absent any explanation in their minds to the issues raised before them, put an end to the discussion by promptly moving for a vote on the resolution that they crafted without thinking. Naturally, as scripted, they had the numbers to stop-and-go with anything –  whether their position is ridiculous, irrelevant and illegal.  The resolution was passed with glee. 

What the immature bunch continues to fail to realize is that their plain barkada and ‘payback’ mindset only serve to expose their ignorance and pettiness in governance.

They must be reminded that their elective positions are temporary and their comeuppance and own payback will be certain. The residents of Barangay Tapuac will know better than to help the EpaLiFes win a reelection. Worse, the residents can talk about their anti-barangay antics and expose them fiercely. Then there is the barangay chairman and council who will be made by their constituents to account for passing a resolution that hurt their community life, without a public hearing.

The barangay residents will have their payback and revenge once Mayor Belen rejects the resolution and stops the backfilling.  (That’s what their boss, ex-Mayor Brian Lim did to blunt the SP’s initiatives, have they forgotten?). Of course, the EpaLiFes will venture to assert themselves, too,  by going to the media (since they don’t have the number to veto anything).

Aahh… but when they do that, then they shall have committed their gravest political  mistake in their lives. How does a protest rally in front of the SP by Tapuac residents, with placards bearing their pictures and names, identifying them as   “Mga mukhang pera!” sit with them?   

Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if the EpaLiFes tell the protesters: “Bring it on!” That would be just being consistent with their mindset and attitude.

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MANAGING THE DAWEL BRIDGE. The decision of the Dagupan City government to close one lane of the Dawel Bridge, the only link available to Bonuan residents to and fro the commercial district, can be nightmarish to many motorists if not properly managed by POSO personnel.

Here are few observations off hand of problematic situations.

  1. The overtaking from the shoulder by jeepneys, etc.  is creating more chokepoints that further slows down flow of traffic on the single lane. Solution: Either POSO personnel stands guard on the shoulder or set up barricades on the shoulder road to prevent vehicles from using it to overtake.
  2. Ambulances with emergency cases are made to wait for their turn to cross the bridge.  Solution: Allow the ambulances to overtake lanes but only after the ambulances have been verified to be transporting patients, or have written tasks to pick up patients.
  3. Motorists are trapped in long lines because there’s no prior warning about the single lane implementation. Solution:  Big advisory/warning tarps should be installed on the city’s boundaries about restrictions on the use of the bridge, and a recommended alternative route, not before the bridge’s approach.
  4. Flow of traffic at night can result in counterflow that will cause accidents. Solution:  POSO personnel must be assigned 24/7 on both sides of the bridge to control vehicular movements.

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WANTED: SINOVAC BOOSTER SHOTS.  I and many others who want to have their first to third booster shots have a dilemma. The DOH only provides  two choices for booster shots after offering 5 choices for first and 2nd doses: Pfizer, Moderna, Astra Zeneca, Sinovac and Sputnik.

Today, seniors are asked to choose only  between Pfizer, Moderna and Astra Zeneca, whichever is available.

I choose not to use either of the three because of the mRNA component of the 3!  I opt for Sinovac like I did for my first two doses and first booster but DOH is not offering it for second booster, and neither does it allow to be accessed in drug stores. 

I and many others are opting for Sinovac for its natural virus component.  Surely DOH can understand this. Please provide the Sinovac!

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