June 20, 2024

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Provincial officials and employees in Benguet are reminded to conduct earthquake drills seriously to practice preparedness measures and improve response capabilities when such an event will hit.

Benguet Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Abner Lawangen issued the reminder following the conduct of the 2024 First Quarter National Simultaneous Earthquake Drill on March 25.

“Earthquakes are the leading causes of fatalities worldwide with an estimated 60,000 each year due to the effects. Benguet is not exempted from the communities at risk of earthquakes, and we have witnessed and experienced during the July 1990 earthquake, and the most recent, the 2022 earthquake,” he said. 

The magnitude 7.7 earthquake that struck Luzon on July 16, 1990 extensively devastated Baguio City, collapsing buildings and killing hundreds of people. It caused landslides along the three main roads in Benguet leading to Baguio, rendering the city isolated for days. Around 30 people died when a mine in Tuba, Benguet collapsed.

Lawangen said the conduct of the quarterly earthquake drills is part of the national government’s preparedness programs for Filipinos to prepare themselves for such eventuality, as earthquakes are frequently recorded and felt in the different parts of the country.

He emphasized the activity is not merely a physical drill, but a psychosocial and mental drill to know the right things and actions to do before, during, and after an earthquake.

“Drills help teach the basic emergency skills, and the drills can improve preparedness and increase knowledge on what to do in case of an earthquake and its effects,” he said.

He said such preparedness can ultimately save lives.

As the earthquake drill simulates earthquake scenarios, he enjoined the employees to do the drill and the various techniques seriously, to familiarize themselves with the necessary steps to be able to react efficiently during real life situations. 

Gov. Melchor Diclas with Board Members Fernando Balaodan Jr, Florencio Bentrez, Neptali Camsol, and Oliver Paus led officials and employees of the provincial government in performing the duck, cover and hold technique at the capitol. – Redjie Melvic Cawis