New equipment, more responders prepare Cebu for disasters

By: Michelle Joy L. Padayhag, Nestle L. Semilla October 14,2016 - 11:44 PM

EVEN though they had already moved on with their lives, some residents of Cebu City still remember the fear they felt during the powerful earthquake which jolted Cebu and the rest of the Visayas three years ago.

Rachel Arellano, a resident of Kinasang-an Pardo, said that recalling the day of the earthquake still sends shivers down her spine.

The Arellanos lived beside a four-story building that cracked.

“Kami ra duha sa akong anak nga babaye sa balay. Kusog kaayo to nga nag crack ang tapad namo nga building. Wa nako kasabot sa akong gibati nga kahadlok ato (It was just me and my daughter in our house during that time. I did not know what to do anymore during that time),” Arellano said.

She said that for about a week, her family slept on the ground floor of their house and kept their main door open as the aftershocks traumatized her daughter.

Three years had passed but the trauma still lingers as memories of that day still haunt them.

Kanang mga linog sa laing lugar sa Manila ba kaha o sa laing nasud , mahadlok ko basin maabot sad diri sa ato (News about earthquakes in other parts of the country like Manila or even abroad make me afraid that it would reach here in Cebu),” she said.


The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs-7) has installed three more remote seismic stations in Cebu.

Robinson Giorgio of Phivolcs-7 said that the equipment had been placed last month in the towns of Dalaguete, Medellin and San Francisco in Camotes Island.

“These will enhance the seismic monitoring system especially for the minor shaking which is not usually felt,” Giorgio told Cebu Daily News.

The equipment, purchased in Canada at a cost of about P5 million, can monitor the whole province of Cebu and the rest of the country, said Giorgio.

Giorgio said that since 1994, there was only one seismic station which covered Metro Cebu, located in Lapu-Lapu City.

“Which means that before, it can’t totally pick up if there’s an event in the area as well as in determining the magnitude,” he said.

Aside from the remote seismic stations to detect minor quakes, Phivolcs-7 also installed the Strong Motion Seismograph (SMS) which can detect major tremors.

According to Giorgio, in Cebu, the SMS were installed in selected towns and cities like Argao, Bogo City, San Francisco (Camotes Island) and Cebu City.

The selection of the areas were based on the local disaster risk reduction management plan by the different Local Government Units (LGUs).

Disaster ready

In Cebu City, Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CCDRRMO) chief Nagiel Banacia, said Cebu City is now ready for any disaster, compared to 2013.

“We already have the advantage because we have done a lot to prepare. We have trainings and equipment to address eventualities, God forbid,” Banacia assured.

Banacia cited the creation of the Command Control Center (C3) and the organization of barangay responders in some of the city’s villages who underwent trainings on how to handle emergency situations like earthquakes and typhoons.

“I would say we are ready. Because on emergencies and disasters, our response may not be perfect but at least we are now equipped and trained,” Banacia said.

Some of the trainings were conducted by foreign non-government organizations and even the US government, he added.

Banacia said the lack of emergency funds and responders were among the problems during the earthquake three years ago.

“After the incident we really saw that we were lacking responders. And how do we manage the aftermath of the calamity. How we manage the people,” Banacia said.

In the 2013 earthquake, nine people were reported killed in the cities of Cebu, Talisay and Mandaue, and in the towns of Ronda and Pinamungahan.

Reports from Cebu City said 53 people were brought to the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) for minor cuts and bruises.

Pepe Tundag, a resident in Barangay Mambaling told CDN that he could not forget the fear and anxiety during and after the tremor.

Tundag was with his family selling viands in their store along N. Bacalso Ave. when the earth violently shook, October 15, 2013.

Antonio’s Place, a building right beside their store crumbled.
“I can still recall what happened. The trauma is slowly fading but there is still fear that it will happen again,” Tundag said in Cebuano.

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TAGS: Camotes Island, earthquake, Kinasang-an, pardo, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology in Central Visayas, philvocs, Philvocs - 7, SMS, Strong Motion Seismograph, tremor

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