May 23, 2024

No matter how grim, continue sharing stories of the earthquake that devastated Baguio City more than three decades ago, an expert advised.

The continued sharing of memories of the July 1990 earthquake will be a constant reminder of the need to be ready for a disaster, said Engr. Jeffrey Perez, a geologist from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

“What happened in 1990 is not the last and sharing information about it will help as we prepare for the Big One,” Perez said during a forum on disaster preparedness with senior citizens and persons with disability initiated by SM Cares.

Perez said the citywide commemoration of the 7.8 magnitude quake in 1990 helps in the efforts initiated to teach the public how to prepare for and how to survive a massive temblor.

He said those who experienced how a 7.8 magnitude quake felt, the scenario where there was no current and water supply, and sleeping in open areas should share their stories so the younger generation would know the scenario of an earthquake disaster and eventually realize the importance of preparedness.

Perez said Baguio is not immune from an earthquake because of its proximity to fault lines that can trigger ground movements, such as the Tebbo and Tuba Faults in Benguet.

He said even the movement of fault lines that are far from Baguio can still affect the city.

In the 1990 earthquake, the source was traced to the Digdig Fault in Nueva Ecija.

Perez emphasized the need for countrywide earthquake preparedness, saying all provinces, except Palawan, are vulnerable to the “Big One,” the term used to describe a worst-case scenario of an earthquake triggered by a fault that will affect six cities in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

“Every province, every region in the Philippines has a Big One and since there is no technology to detect when an earthquake will happen, our emphasis remains on preparedness,” he said.

In terms of structures, Perez said a building should be able to withstand an intensity 8.0 earthquake, which can be achieved by using standard construction materials.

“All the provinces in the Cordillera can be struck an intensity 8 earthquake, which is why our buildings must be able to survive that intensity,” he said.

An intensity 8.0 earthquake is considered damaging. Buildings with posts and beams that collapse in an intensity 6.0 are substandard, according to Perez.

The recent forum also highlighted the importance of instituting and complying with measures to mitigate the impact of a natural hazard, such as an earthquake.

Councilor Lourdes Tabanda said the knowledge about the existence of fault lines that could trigger an earthquake should make residents realize the importance of complying with the regulations imposed to protect lives and properties, such as securing permits first before constructing buildings.

“I hope we will realize the importance of having building permits. For those applying for public lands for residential areas, a geological study is now a requirement,” she said.– Jane B. Cadalig