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Big earthquakes: Are we prepared?

Suddenly the ground was shaking. In the first few seconds, confusion. Then, the slow realization that it was an earthquake. Fear followed. For few minutes, it was a combination of more fear and further confusion while feeling dizzy and struggling for balance. Would you run, duck or follow the rest for what could be a common route to safety amidst falling debris?

The strong tremor, magnitude 6.8 according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), that hit Mindanao naturally caused panic. The ground-shaking was felt in all the provinces of Regions 9, 10, 11, 12, BARMM and CARAGA. The hardest hit were Regions 11 and 12, especially the provinces of Sarangani, Davao Occidental, Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte, Davao de Oro, Davao City and South Cotabato.

At least 12 road networks were badly affected. Three of which, in Region 12, still remain unpassable as of this past Sunday. More than 70 infrastructure were damaged; 54 houses, ruined. Several bridges were damaged too, although still usable for traffic. A minimum of 180 families were directly distressed. Unfortunately, eight persons perished. Falling rocks and concrete directly fell on most of them. Two died by landslide.

The whole of government approach was employed. The national government was quick to respond, particularly the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Health (DOH) and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD).

The personnel and assets of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) were on full alert for any emergencies that the local government units (LGUs) would need. Leaders of the national and local governments, to their credit, responded well in full coordination.

No less than Vice President Sara Duterte presided over the emergency meeting of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on the day after the earthquake. Quick responses to the tragedy were reviewed and the needed additional actions identified to ensure that the communities would be assisted well.

President Bongbong Marcos Jr.,