Vico Sotto signs Pasig's disaster response deal with Cagayan Valley
MANILA, Philippines – With the West Valley Fault due for major movement anytime from now until the next 200 years, Pasig City firmed up a disaster response plan with its designated partner, the Cagayan Valley region, on Monday, February 10.
Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto and Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Cagayan Valley Director Dante Balao signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that outlines preparations for deploying disaster responders from cities and municipalities in Cagayan Valley to Pasig City in case the "Big One" – a magnitude 7.2 earthquake – happens.
The 100-kilometer West Valley Fault traverses Pasig, particularly barangays Bagong Ilog and Ugong. Should the "Big One" occur, the city would feel it with high intensity.
"More than 10,000 ang posibleng ma-injure pagdating ng the 'Big One.' Dito pa lang sa Pasig 'yun (More than 10,000 people risk getting injured if the 'Big One' strikes. That's just here in Pasig)," Sotto told reporters.
Studies by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) and the United States Geological Survey predict that the "Big One" would leave some 33,500 people dead, 113,600 injured, and possibly 3.15 million homeless.
The impact would be so debilitating it would render Metro Manila cities and municipalities' disaster responders unable to do their jobs – they might be victims themselves.
That's why the OCD devised a partnership scheme between Metro Manila local government units (LGUs) and their counterparts from regions outside the metropolis. Pasig's partner is Cagayan Valley.
First agreement of its kind
Pasig's MOU with the Cagayan Valley Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CVDRRMC) is the first official agreement signed between a Metro Manila LGU and its designated disaster response partner for the "Big One," according to Pasig's disaster response chief Bryant Wong.
The agreement includes the following features:
- The Pasig City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office will hold "capacity building and skills enhancement" trainings for Cagayan Valley's disaster responders. Pasig will also provide them funds for equipment and "continuous capacity building."
- Pasig will regularly conduct tabletop, communication, and full-scale simulation exercises to train Cagayan Valley's disaster response teams.
- Cagayan Valley disaster response teams will "utilize their equipment and facilities in times of disaster."
- The CVDRRMC will provide respondents to support Pasig's operations in times of disaster, as well as logistical support to all LGUs that will assist Pasig in such cases.
- Pasig and Cagayan Valley disaster response teams will share information, standard operating procedures, protocols, contingency plans, and other relevant documents, and will conduct regular meetings and dialogue.
A team from the CVDRRMC will conduct a thorough, 3-day survey of Pasig's terrain and its disaster response facilities and equipment, from Monday to Wednesday, February 12.
It includes a "Walk the Fault" inspection of areas along the West Valley Fault in Pasig, specifically in barangays Bagong Ilog and Ugong.
"As first responders, they should be very familiar with Pasig's terrain, equipment, command posts, where our equipment are placed, and so on. They should know their way in and around Pasig," Sotto said in a mix of English and Filipino.
'We need to be ready'
Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum Jr attended the MOU signing event at Pasig City's Tanghalang Pasigueño on Monday. He congratulated the city government for taking a concrete step in enlisting outside help to prepare for the "Big One."
"Nandoon na tayo sa 400-year lower limit ng pagkilos ng fault. Posible namang matagal pa kasi 400 to 600 years. Pero ang tanong, paano kung kumilos? (We are already in the 400-year lower limit of the fault's movement. It might also be far off because the range is 400 to 600 years. But the question is, what if it does move?) We need to be ready," Solidum told the audience.
Solidum called on Pasig City to also make the same preparations in case it's the Cagayan Valley provinces that would need its disaster responders' help. Sotto said his city is just as ready to help its partner region in case of disasters.
"Hindi puwedeng mayabang pagdating sa DRRM. Kailangan aminin natin na kailangan natin ng tulong. Kailangan magtulungan tayo (One must not be overconfident when it comes to disaster risk reduction and management. We must admit that we need help. We need to help one another out)," Sotto said. – Rappler.com