AT 9 A.M., Cebu provincial employees trooped outside the Capitol building as part of the evacuation plan as rescue workers went to work at the Capitol building where at least 35 casualties were scattered all over the compound.
The emergency responders executed a high-angle rescue where an injured person was being brought down from the Capitol roof in a stretcher. Another group of rescue workers did a vehicle extraction as they tried to free an injured person from a vehicle.
These were all part of the 1st Quarter Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill at the Capitol grounds with the Cebu provincial government leading the activity when Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) head Baltazar Tribunaol Jr. and Department of Science and Technology Undersecretary Renato Solidum Jr. pushed the ceremonial button signaling the start of the activity.
Several rescue scenarios were depicted during the drill including high-angle rescue, collapse structure rescue, fire suppression, vehicle extraction and air evacuation.
Despite the rain, Solidum commended the participants during the drill for taking the activity seriously. He said this attitude is important because it will prepare them when they will deal with calamities in the future.
Based on personal observation, Solidum said that he would give a passing rate of 5 as to how the provincial government handled the simulated earthquake situation, explaining that there is still room for improvements.
For one, Solidum noted how there are several trees inside the Capitol grounds; thus, the evacuation area should not be located underneath or near them.
Talisay resident Raul Canada, 75, came to the Capitol to process some documents at the assessor’s office at 9 a.m. but got quite a surprise when he found himself in the middle of the drill.
Foregoing the evacuation, Canada, who had a fever at the time, decided to sit at one of the stairs inside the Capitol to wait out the rain before heading back home.
Despite the disruption of his appointment, Canada said that it was good that they are conducting an earthquake drill so that people would know how to handle emergencies in case a real one strikes.
Meanwhile, Tribunalo pointed out that he saw a very big improvement when it came to the performance of the participants during the drill as well as the response capacity of the provincial government in comparison to last year.
Tribunalo said that the aspect that needs to be further improved is the emergency communication as well as the limited area with which the activity was being conducted.
“Ang i-improve pud nato karon murag confined ra ang atong drill, naa ra gyud sa sulod,” he said. “Ang sa akoa lang, all the operations must be done sa kalsada. How will the general public treat and behave if the disturbance is really in the public area? Anam-anamon lang nato but in general, within the compound, lipay kaayo ko.”
According to Tribunalo, he would give an 8 out of 10 rating as to how the Capitol responded during the simulated earthquake drill.