BROADCAST journalist and independent senatorial candidate Jiggy Manicad yesterday called for a more stringent implementation of the country’s building code following the devastating earthquake that struck central Luzon and Metro Manila.
“Nakakalungkot isipin na may mga namatay tayong kababayan sa gumuhong supermarket building sa Pampanga dahil sa lindol na ito. Nakakalungkot din na maging ang Clark airport at iba pang istruktura ay malubha ring napinsala ng lindol,” Manicad said.
After covering multiple disasters including the deadly Haiti earthquake in 2010, Manicad has long advocated for improved emergency preparedness among Filipinos.
“We should institutionalize the instruction of emergency preparedness in our schools. It’s not enough to have a yearly fire or earthquake drill. We have to require students to prepare emergency kits, teach them to know possible evacuation areas by heart, and provide safety equipment such as hard-hats,” he said.
Manicad cited the example of Japan which enforces earthquake drills every month and has strict protocols for students in the event of a disaster.
At the same time, Manicad urged the Filipino people to be prepared for the “Big One”.
The Metropolitan Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS) said a 7.2 magnitude tremor from the West Valley Fault will result in the collapse of 170,000 buildings and the death of 34,000 people.
Another 114,000 people will be injured and 340,000 houses will be partially damaged, the MMEIRS had said.
In the same scenario, ten percent of public buildings will collapse as well as bridges.
“Let this recent quake be an urgent reminder that we have to be prepared at any moment. Though we have a building code, the government has to enforce strict implementation and frequent inspection of buildings, homes, and other structures,” Manicad urged.
“From what I’ve learned covering the earthquake in Haiti, the earthquake itself can be extremely deadly. In the case of Haiti, ilang daang libong tao ang namatay . Pero magiging mas deadly pa ang earthquake kung hindi natin bubusisiin ang ating building code at ang struktura sa mga komunidad lalo na sa lungsod ,” he recounted.