By Priam Nepomuceno

QUAKE DRILL. Personnel of the Manila Police District headquarters in Ermita, Manila, join the fourth quarter nationwide simultaneous earthquake drill (NSED) on Nov. 9, 2023. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Monday (June 24) said a Harmonized National Contingency Plan would be tested in this year’s second quarter NSED on June 28. (PNA file photo by Yancy Lim)

MANILA – Authorities will test a Harmonized National Contingency Plan (HNCP) in the event of a magnitude 7.2 quake due to the movement of the West Valley Fault (WVF) hitting Metro Manila and other areas.

In a statement Monday, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said the newly-activated HNCP would be the highlight of this year’s second quarter Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) set at 2 p.m. on June 28.

“The HNCP aims to address scenarios stemming from a magnitude 7.2 earthquake due to the movement of the West Valley Fault (WVF). The scenario may involve damage stemming from an Intensity VIII quake, affecting Metro Manila and nearby provinces of Central Luzon and Calabarzon,” the NDRRMC said in a statement.

Based on the HNCP, the NDRRMC said the first wave of assisting Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (RDRRMCs) for Metro Manila is the RDRRMC 1 (Ilocos) for North Sector (North 1 and 2); RDRRMC 2 (Cagayan Valley) for East Sector; RDRRMC Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) for West Sector; and RDRRMC V (Bicol) for South Sector (South 1 and 2).

Under this scenario, assisting RDRRMCs would arrive in Metro Manila and establish alternate emergency operations centers in the designated areas.

Each assisting RDRRMC has a search, rescue, and retrieval (SRR) team; an incident management team (IMT); and an emergency operations center (EOC) team composed of various government agencies from the region.

The NSED will be held at the Rescue Emergency Disaster (RED) Training Center in Pasig City, where the full-scale exercise will be conducted.

During the exercise, SRR teams from the uniformed services and the assisting RDRRMCs will be at the ceremonial venue, simulating a collapsed structure with victims.

Meanwhile, IMTs and EOC teams will be in designated locations where communication and coordination exercises will be conducted.

“The Alternate Government Command and Control Center (GCCC) at Fort Magsaysay will also be activated and serve as the National DRRM Operations Center, presuming that the NDRRMOC in Camp Aguinaldo becomes non-operational in the event of the ‘Big One,’” the disaster response body said.

Meanwhile, Pasig City government personnel will perform the standard “duck, cover, and hold” procedures.

The NDRRMC noted the WVF moved four times in the last 1,400 years with an interval of 400 to 600 years.

The last major earthquake generated by this fault was in 1658.

The WVF traverses Metro Manila areas, including Quezon City, Marikina, Pasig, Taguig, and Muntinlupa, as well as nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna. (PNA)