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COTABATO CITY, August 25, 2022– The national government has been driving the message of preparedness and readiness to government agencies, in particular, and the Filipino nation, in general.
Apparently, the goal is to lessen the impact of disaster, or calamities, to the country and the citizens.
Yearly, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and sub-agencies of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) have been conducting nationwide simultaneous earthquake drill to prepare for what is anticipated “The Big One” to hit Metro Manila, an estimated 30,000 deaths.
In the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), following the lead of the national government, the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government (MILG) headed by Minister Naguib G. Sinarimbo has conducted a Multi-Hazard Simulation Drill in four locations in the Bangsamoro region.
“We conducted today the Multi Hazard Simulation Drill in four locations along the coast of the Moro Gulf. The areas are Datu Blah Sinsuat, Cotabato City, Sultan Mastura, all in Maguindanao province, and Picong in Lanao del Sur province,:” says Sinarimbo, who also speaks for the BARMM.
Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur belong to the Bangsamoro region.
The Bangsamoro region, established in 2018 by the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) to implement the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), is made up of the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, the cities of Cotabato, Lamitan, and Marawi, as well as the 63 SGA villages that voted “yes” in a plebiscite in January and February 2019 to be under the BARMM jurisdiction.
The BARMM population per the Philippine Atlas has 4,404,288 people. It has 116 municipalities: Basilan, 11 municipalities; Lanao del Sur, 39; Maguindanao, 36; Sulu, 19; and Tawi-Tawi, 11. Its component cities are Cotabato (the regional center and capital) in Maguindanao; Lamitan in Basilan; and Marawi in Lanao del Sur.
He explained that the drill simulated the occurrence of a magnitude 8.0 earthquake, followed by an 8 to 10 meters tsunami generated by the movement of the Cotabato Trench in the Moro Gulf.
He recalled that the Cotabato Trench generated in 1976 a magnitude 8.0 quake followed by a tsunami in Mindanao, destroying towns and cities in its path, and killed around 4,000 people and hundreds missing.
According to Wikipedia, “the Cotabato Trench (an oceanic trench in the Pacific Ocean) is one of the main structures around the Philippines likely to be associated with tsunamigenic earthquakes.” (emphasis by Wikipedia)
Sinarimbo explained that the MILG drill “aims to prepare the communities along the Moro Gulf so they know how to evacuate to safer grounds and for the LGUs (local government units), agencies of government, humanitarian organizations, civil society organizations, and partner institutions of the Bangsamoro Government to better respond to emergencies” in the mold of the 1976 8.0 magnitude shaker.
“We are happy to see the participation of the communities as well as the response of our partner institutions and how the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) of the Bangsamoro functions in times of disaster. We also took note of the gaps and the areas of improvement so we can better prepare for any emergency,” the MILG head said. — EKU (✓)