Press Release
March 1, 2010

Villar: Let's prepare, killer quake can happen in RP

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet--Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Manny Villar said the killer earthquake that hit Chile over the weekend should prepare Filipinos, especially those living in Baguio City and surrounding areas, to prepare for a similar tragedy.

"We are seeing disasters like earthquakes happening, killing lots of people and these should make us prepared," Villar told reporters here.

He said the 8.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Chile could happen in the Philippines, which lies on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, an area where large numbers of underwater earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.

"We must bear in mind that what happened in Chile could also happen here. Sana naman ay huwag," Villar said, apparently recalling the earthquake that hit Baguio City in 1990 that killed almost a thousand people following the collapse of the Hyatt Hotel.

With the country's present capabilities, Villar hinted that an earthquake with intensity like the one that struck Chile could result in massive destruction.

Typhoon "Ondoy" was an example of the ill preparedness of the government to respond to such a tragedy, he said.

"In the event that we are hit by a big earthquake, God forbid, can we handle it? The government, the national and local governments, should always be prepared," according to Villar.

"Let us hope that the national government can properly react to such a calamity," Villar added.

Sen. Loren Legarda, Villar's running mate, said the Chile earthquake has resulted in tsunami alerts in several countries, including the Philippines.

Although the tsunamis could only be a few feet high, the government and the Filipinos should be ready "just the same," Legarda said.

Villar and Legarda arrived here for a short visit to the La Trinidad vegetable trading post and market before going back to Baguio City to join the celebration of the annual Panagbenga or Flower Festival, which the NP standard-bearer said, is among his favorite of the country's tourist attractions.

They were joined by some of the members of the NP senatorial slate, including Gilbert Remulla, Bongbong Marcos, Ramon Mitra III, Satur Ocampo, Liza Maza, and representatives of Susan Ople and detained Marine Col. Ariel Querubin.

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