July 23, 2024

Councilors Arthur Allad-iw and Maximo Edwin Jr. have filed a proposed resolution seeking to declare July 16 as quake commemoration and disaster awareness day in the city.

In the proposal, the councilors consider July 16, 1990, during which a magnitude 7.7 earthquake hit Luzon including Baguio City, as the day when the city experienced the worst disaster but which they suggest should be revisited as it has taught the people how to survive a disaster.

They said their story should be retold not only as a commemoration but also to learn from the experience which can be transformed into disaster preparedness on any calamity in the present time and years yet to come.

The July 16, 1990 earthquake led to countless deaths and injuries to Baguio’s residents and visitors and destruction of houses, buildings, public infrastructure, and other properties.

The city was isolated for months due to closures of roads brought by landslides and road cuts, leading to provisions of supplies by air.

“These horrific conditions, seen only in movies, were experienced then in the City of Baguio, which was considered to be the worst hit among affected Luzon areas. Residents in the early period of the disaster did not believe Baguio can recover. But collective efforts contributed to its rehabilitation,” the proposed measure stated.

With Baguio’s nature as a geo-hazard area prone to calamities, the councilors suggested for the city to adopt methods geared towards a disaster prepared and informed residents by revisiting the July 16, 1990 earthquake by institutionalizing its commemoration; having activities that provide information about calamities; and having residents knowledgeable on the geo-hazard conditions of the city and aware and willing to realize disaster preparedness plans.

If approved, the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council shall schedule an annual earthquake and/or disaster drill to be participated in by the public and share the city’s disaster preparedness plans, geo-hazard conditions and other relevant information through seminars, trainings, fora, and other modes of information campaign in partnership with the private sector.

The proposal designates the city mayor being the CDRRM office chair as disaster czar and action officer.

The CDRRMO, whose funds for the purpose will be included its annual budget, shall tie up with other city government offices, private institutions, media, and individuals in planning activities for the July 16, 1990 commemoration; shall evaluate programs and activities for its improvement in re-planning and re-programming; and institute sharing of disaster management and preparedness programs for awareness about the annual observance. – Hanna C. Lacsamana