By Gideon C. Corgue
PAGADIAN CITY, 10 August (PIA) – The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in collaboration with the local government unit (LGU) of Pagadian thru the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) will conduct a simulation exercise on earthquake and tsunami on August 17.
OCD-9 Division Chief Lito Casinillo said the event is a commemoration of the 1976 Moro Gulf earthquake and tsunami that took place on August 17 whose 7.9 surface magnitude resulted in the massive destruction in the coastal communities leaving 8,000 people dead.
Casinillo said the SIMEX aims to strengthen the ability of the responders to prepare for and respond to natural disasters.
“The commemorative activity will instill highest level of awareness and preparedness of the populace through series of contingency planning and workshop, as well as an information dissemination campaign to the stakeholders,” Casinillo said.
During the event, Casinillo said the OCD will create a scenario where the responders will conduct search and rescue operations and coordinate effectively with relief agencies during an earthquake response.
“In the activity, the responders will follow the contingency plan to evaluate if the plan is effective,” Casinillo said adding that it will also test the capabilities of the first responders if they are ready in case an earthquake and tsunami will strike again in the city.
He said an orientation and workshop on disaster risk reduction and management and tsunami, community-based early warning system was conducted recently to the first responders from the national government agencies and barangay DRRMC members from the seven (7) coastal barangays of the city to equip them the knowledge in rescue operation.
During the tragic incident that happened 41 years ago, the barangays that were greatly affected were Balangasan, Dumagoc, Kawit, Santiago, San Pedro, Sta. Lucia, and White Beach.
“We will work as a team under one structure to ensure that the populace is safe and rescued. It is also the goal of the OCD to have a safer, adaptive, and disaster-resilient community,” Casinillo explained.
The event will be graced by OCD Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) Director Renato Solidum Jr, and Governor Antonio H. Cerilles. (ALT/GCC/PIA-Zamboanga del Sur)