BONTOC, Mountain Province – Schools in the four central barangays of this municipality, and the employees and clients at the Bontoc Municipal Capitol are prepared in any occurrence of an earthquake.
This was proven during the 1st Quarter National Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) in the afternoon of February 21, 2019.
The evaluators gave outstanding scores to the participating schools and the Bontoc Local Government Unit (LGU) for their proper execution and familiarization of the duck-cover-hold technique and proper evacuation procedures in the eventuality of a powerful temblor. The schools are Mountain Province –SPED Center, Bontoc Central School (BCS), Mountain Province General Comprehensive High School (MPGCHS), MPGCHS – Senior High, Ut-utan Primary School, Samoki Elementary School, Saint Vincent Elementary School, Saint Vincent High School and Saint Vincent Senior High School
Bontoc Mayor Franklin Odsey who also participated in the earthquake drill remarked that the conduct of quarterly earthquake drill is necessary as it intensifies readiness, awareness and responsiveness of the public.
As per observation, students and faculty of the participating schools; officials, employees and clients of the Bontoc LGU; and even construction workers of the AIP Construction working at the Bontoc Municipal Capitol executed the six steps necessary to do during an earthquake. First is the alarm such as the siren or bell, as a pre-arranged signal that indicated the occurrence of an earthquake or ground shaking.
Second is the response. While the siren or bell is on-going, everyone moved away from windows, glass or lights. It is also in this phase that everyone performed the “duck, cover and hold” under the desks, tables or chairs and remained in this position until the ground shaking stopped.
Third is the evacuation phase. In this phase, once the shaking stopped, the participants waited for 10 seconds, evacuated the building using pre-determined routes and followed the “buddy-buddy system” going to identified evacuation areas.
Fourth is the assembly in which at the designated evacuation area, students grouped together according to the class where they belong. Meanwhile, for the Bontoc LGU, the employees grouped together to the office where they belong too.
Fifth is the head count. The teachers checked and made sure that all students were accounted for. In the case of the Bontoc LGU, the Head of Office performed the head count.
The sixth phase is the evaluation in which problems encountered during the earthquake and how this can be corrected in future occurrence of earthquake.
During the post-evaluation conducted after the drill, evaluators remarked that the participants passed the earthquake drill, but with minimal lapses. Among the observation raised were some of the students in one school did not properly execute the “duck, cover, hold”, some did not observe the “buddy-buddy system”, others walked the normal pace instead of walking faster, and some teachers let their students did the head count.
Despite these, the participating schools and the Bontoc LGU have shown and proved a huge improvement in their readiness and responsiveness in any occurrence of an earthquake compared to the conduct of the NSED in the previous year.
It is also noteworthy that real-life scenarios of earthquake induced accidents were executed by the Mountain Province SPED Center and BCS.
Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Johanna Padaen attributed the outstanding performance of the participants to the quarterly conduct of the earthquake drill.
With this, Padaen thanked the evaluators who assessed the participants stressing that their recommendations are of great help to improve the earthquake preparedness of the public.
Members of the evaluating team are personnel from the Bontoc LGU, Bontoc Municipal Police Station (MPS), Bontoc Municipal Fire Station, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and Criminology students of the Mountain Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC) undergoing internship in the locality.
Aside from this, the evaluating team are scheduled to go around the schools in the outskirt barangays of Bontoc to conduct similar activity.
The NSED is a regular activity spearheaded by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) which is cascaded down to local DRRMs to promote a culture of safety awareness and foresight among all people.
By Alpine L. Killa