The frequency of recent earthquakes around the Philippines and in Cavite have people worried and fearful that “the Big One” might happen anytime. The “Big One” is a worst-case scenario of a 7.2-magnitude earthquake from the West Valley Fault, a 100-kilometer fault that runs through six cities in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
A tsunami is also foreseen in the scenario set by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS). It will affect the greater Metro Manila and other provinces including Cavite, specifically the towns of Carmona, General Mariano Alvarez and Silang.
To prepare, the local government of Cavite together with the Humanitarian Leadership Academy Philippines and Adventist Development and Relief Agency Philippines held the Big Preparedness, One Cavite Colloquium last June 6. It was attended by more than 167 participants from 23 cities and municipalities of Cavite province, 25 members of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and 20 from the Civil Society/Non-Government Organizations (CSOs/NGOs) in Cavite. This is considered a first step in the preparation efforts for the Big One.
Cavite Governor Crispin Remulla recognised the importance of coming together to discuss the Big One. He noted that although the province has the basic earthquake preparations, talking about the Big One earthquake is crucial as it needs more than the basic that already exists.
Cecil Miranda, Head of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Office-Cavite Office of Public Safety recognised that although the province and municipalities have existing earthquake plans and drills, there is a need to refine these plans to consider the Big One scenario. She emphasized that municipalities, CSOs/NGOs, private sector and other humanitarian actors and stakeholders in Cavite must coordinate, collaborate and be consultative and inclusive to all sectors.
Renato Solidum, Under-secretary on DRRM and Climate Change of the Department of Science and Technology and Officer-in-charge of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) provided new information related to the scenarios and impacts of the Big One.
Ramon Santiago, DRR Advisor of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) shared key elements and components of Metro Manila’s contingency plan for the Big One and his recommendations for Cavite.
“The plan need not be a perfect plan, but rather, a simple one that everyone can easily understand and set into action,” Santiago said.
He suggested that the province continue DRRM capacity enhancement, focus on community preparedness and multi-sectoral awareness, address issues of weak residential structures and promote sound design and construction practice, promote business continuity planning and management practice, and long term risk-sensitive redevelopment of the province.
From the inputs of Solidum and Santiago, the municipalities split into geographic clusters to identify current capacities and activities in relation to the big one, gaps and challenges and ways forward.
Specific to the Provincial Government, and considering the larger provincial wide preparations, they proposed several ways forward which can already be the basis of future collaboration of the academy, ADRA and the Provincial Government. Among these recommendations are:
- Development of a Provincial-wide Contingency Plan on the Big One
- Request for a training design on the formulation of Contingency Plan to identify specific requirements such as data, documents, inventory, and other relevant information/files
- Request city/municipal DRRMCs to submit inventories of their capacities (human resource and logistics)
- Strengthen membership of CSOs and other stakeholders in the Provincial DRRM Council and their concrete intervention/roles in DRRM; and include CSOs in developing the Provincial-wide Big One Contingency Plan
- Strengthen Public-Private Partnership/coordination
- Capacitate micro, small and medium enterprises on Business Continuity Planning
- Coordination with and capacity enhancement programs for CSOs
- Management of the dead, missing and injured, water, sanitation and hygiene, local Surge and others
- Organize Accredited Community Disaster Volunteers
Humanitarian Leadership Academy in the Philippines
Adventist Development and Relief Agency
Provincial DRRM Division-Cavite Office of Public Safety
In cooperation with
Office of the Civil Defense-Region 4A
Metro Manila Development Authority