Press Release
May 22, 2015


Senator Sonny Angara has renewed his call for urgent assessment of the country's earthquake disaster preparedness in light of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology's (Phivolcs) warning that the West Valley Fault is ripe for a possible strong earthquake.

According to recent reports, Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum said the West Valley Fault, which traverses parts of Metro Manila and adjoining provinces of Bulacan, Laguna, Rizal and Cavite, has the potential of generating a destructive magnitude 7.2 earthquake "within our lifetime."

"Given the devastating consequences of earthquake disasters upon human lives, infrastructures, utilities and properties, there is an urgent need to look into the status of earthquake-prone areas and government agencies in terms of preparedness so that appropriate plans can be made and proper policy framework can be put in place for an effective earthquake disaster risk reduction and management system," Angara said.

The senator had filed a resolution back in 2013 directing the proper Senate committee to conduct an inquiry on the Philippines' earthquake disaster preparedness after a magnitude 7.2 earthquake hit Bohol, Cebu and nearby provinces, resulting in 190 human casualties and almost P1-billion in damages.

"We should make sure that every step will be taken to reduce the risks and minimize the casualties and damages to prevent the tragic Visayas earthquake from happening again," he said.

He noted that under Republic Act No. 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, government agencies are mandated to create programs aimed at reducing risks from earthquakes.

The Phivolcs has released copies of the Valley Fault Atlas, a handbook of large-scale maps, to ensure that areas within five meters on both sides of active faults would be cleared by local government units.

A recent study called "Greater Metro Manila Area Risk Analysis Project" shows that a magnitude 7.2 earthquake along the West Valley Fault could cause P2.4 trillion in damages and approximately 37,000 deaths.

Amid the warnings, Angara stressed the need to assess whether Filipinos have already conformed to the requirements of the new building code and other pertinent regulations including the retrofitting of houses, buildings and other structures.

He also emphasized the need to check if the country has enough essential resources in the event of earthquake disasters such as hospitals, disaster management centers, roads, broadcast media, fire and ambulance stations, and telecommunication facilities.

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