Info exchange among LGUs established at 3rd MM Shake Drill -MMDA

MANILA-- The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) declared Monday that the third Metro Manila Shake Drill was a success due to the establishment of communication system among local government units (LGUs) and active community participation.

MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim said there has been a marked improvement in communication among the four quadrants- north, south, east and west of Metro Manila compared to the previous earthquake drills.

There was much improvement on our communications. If you remember, during the previous exercises, we are having a hard time to communicate between quadrants to quadrants to the local government units to the emergency operations center. This time, we were able to put up our communications system within two hours after the drill started, Lim said in a post-assessment meeting on the shake drill Monday.

It may not be an ideal situation, but compared to the previous two drills, within less than two hours, we have already established our communication lines, he added.

For his part, MMDA Oversight Committee on Public Safety head Manny Gonzales said the agency was able to set up a back-up communications link with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Moreover, it has acquired satellite phones which were utilized by the quadrant commanders.

We did not encounter any problems because we have continuous link-up with the four quadrants. We had a redundant communication system. We were able to communicate with all the quadrants on the ground, according to Gonzales.

During the post assessment meeting, quadrant commanders proposed that communication equipment be provided to further improve the delivery of vital information to the various barangays of Metro Manila.

The LGUs should have handheld radios for easy communication, south quadrant commander Edward Gonzales said.

The purchase of portable repeaters and radio integrators to establish wider range and smooth flow of communication is necessary, according to west quadrant commander Aldo Mayor said.

Communication facilities to establish wider communication network must be established to address problems such as lack of available radio frequencies and too much traffic on radio, he added.

Chairman Lim has also noted that there was very active barangay personnel participation in the drill which was absent during the previous exercises as well as overwhelming support for the quake drill from the private sector.

He reiterated that it is important to have a regular earthquake drill to be better prepared in the event that the so-called Big One or a magnitude 7.2 earthquake strikes the metropolis.

Furthermore, the MMDA chief said that there should be more quake drills in the future before it could conduct an unannounced earthquake exercise.

According to Lim, the yearly earthquake drill has been successful in raising public awareness on the impact of a major earthquake in Metro Manila.

We can never attain a perfect score. We always strive to improve and be better every shake drill, the MMDA chief emphasized.

This year's Metro Manila Shake Drill was conducted from July 13 to 16, 2017.

Former MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino introduced the metropolis-wide shake drill in 2015 so the public would be prepared for the Big One, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that experts predict would happen.

Source: Philippine News Agency