Press Release
July 12, 2008

Villar bats for July 16 as annual nat'l quake drill day

Government should study the possibility of designating a day in the year to conduct a national earthquake drill, a practice which quake-prone areas like Japan and California have been doing yearly so their residents will know what to do when a temblor strikes, Senate President Manny Villar today said. Aside from strengthening people's preparedness during earthquakes, the drill will also measure the capability of government rescue and relief teams to respond to emergencies, Villar said.

"The drill will also allow us to check the ambulances, fire trucks, emergency vehicles, hospital beds in both public and private hands," Villar said.

He noted that the Bureau of Fire Protection has less than 500 fire breathing apparatuses in Metro Manila, "which is certainly not enough if a major quake would trigger fires in a region of 12 million inhabitants."

Because of the country's geological vulnerability, as several faults crisscross the archipelago, the authorities should make every effort to prepare for a major earthquake, Villar said.

The Nacionalista Party president recommended one possible date for a nationwide annual earthquake drill: July 16, the anniversary of the 1990 Baguio quake.

This, he said, will follow the practice in other countries to time their drills with the anniversary of a great earthquake.

In Japan, the army and emergency services go through elaborate drills every year, on the anniversary of the Great Kanto earthquake which flattened Tokyo in September 1923. Californians, on their part, hold a "Duck, Cover, Hold" drill one day a year, during the state's "Disaster Preparedness Month."

Villar said the need to hold regular "emergency disaster drills" should be inculcated in the minds of government leaders as the country is regularly hit by typhoon, flooding, volcanic eruptions and quakes, "in addition to man-made ones like fires, sinking of ships, stadium stampedes and road crashes."

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