Press Release
October 5, 2009


Opposition Sen. Chiz Escudero yesterday urged government to revisit earthquake preparedness plans for Metro Manila, particularly in areas traversed by the (West) Valley fault (formerly called Marikina fault) line.

"Even as we try to cope with the devastation caused by Ondoy, let us not make the fatal mistake of forgetting that dire warnings have been made regarding a possible big quake in Metro Manila," the 39-year old lawmaker said.

Escudero issued the call a day after at least 1,100 people were killed by two successive earthquakes in South Sumatra, in Indonesia on Wednesday and Thursday.

According to a report on a 2002 study funded by the Japanese government, if a 7 to 9 magnitude quake triggered by the West Valley fault line hits Metro Manila today, it could be "unlike any tragedy seen or imagined in Metro Manila."

Escudero said the Metropolitan Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS) includes 100 actions plans that would mitigate the impact on areas expected to suffer most from the projected quake.

"We need not reinvent the wheel. Let us see what our resources are and find out how we can address the concerns raised in the study. Our people have suffered more than enough from ad-hoc governance," he said.

According to the worst-case scenario in the study, up to 35,000 Metro residents would be killed and over three million others will be displaced by a big quake. It also projects that tens of thousands of homes and buildings would collapse from the temblor.

The West Valley fault line is one of three cutting across Metro Manila. The two others are the Manila Bay and Manila Trench fault lines. The last big earthquake that hit Metro Manila and the rest of central and northern Luzon in July 1990 killed 1,700 people.

Reports also said the 7.7 quake hurt 3,000 persons and displaced 148,000 people. Property and infrastructure damage was placed at $2 billion.

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