Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Will there be more Killer Quakes?

From over 40 casualties, the death toll has risen to nearly 100 in the Carmen, Bohol Province-Cebu City earthquake. At that figure, the Carmen-Cebu tremor can qualify as a Killer Quake. Cebu and nearby areas has to be declared to be in a state of calamity. There are limited manuevers that aircraft can make at the Cebu airport due to the cracking and opening up of the airport's runways.

The six million dollar question is: how many more incidents like those in Carmen, Bohol and Cebu City and the other ones in Leyte, Samar will we be expecting?

Were the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvolcs) prepared adequately enough with equipment to monitor ground movement, tectonic plate disturbance, the nearly 100 deaths could have been avoided. 27 Billion Philippine Pesos is earmarked for pork barrel in the 2014 General Appropriations Act out of a total expenditure program of 2.26 Trillion Philippine Pesos. Would it be difficult to allocate even half of that pork barrel budget for emergency preparedness, disaster risk reduction, equipment upgrade?

Past Warnings of Big Disaster

This site has been warning the public for more than four years since the time of the former President, Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Due to the total torpedoing of the private sector (Corinthian Gardens, Forbes Park, Dasmarinas Village, the owners of high rise condominiums at the left side of EDSA southbound, among others), of the program for predicting highly lethal effects of a major tremor in Metro Manila and the replication of this effort in many urban areas in the country by the same sector in collusion with some corrupt officials in the government, a large disaster and environmental hazards summit was proposed to be supported by the Philippine Government and the United Nations, among other institutions from many other sectors - including the non-profit (minus the Napoles et al NGOs).

Wanting responses

It is reiterated that in the time of Mrs. Arroyo, only the then Administrator of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Ms. Elaine Bautista, now Mrs. Horn, had the small effort to make an email message to the proponents of the 2010 Disaster and Environmental Hazards Mapping Summit. And that was only because the United Nations Environment Programm (UNEP)  told the former Ms. Bautista to get in touch with HMES 2010 organizing group. At the time, concurrent to her post in MARINA, Ms. Bautista was considered a friend of UNEP and a significant point person for the Philippine Government in relation to selected UNEP concerns - particularly about emergency and assistance.

When Mr. Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino 3rd became President, the organizing group wrote to Ms. Corazon Juliano Soliman of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and Gen. Voltaire Tuvera Gazmin. Ms. Soliman did not respond. It was noticed however that several days later, Gen. Gazmin, the Secretary of the Department of National Defense gave an interview to national media.

In that interview, when Gazmin was asked about what the people should do when a disaster strikes, he replied: "Run for your lives."

Carrying the barest minimum luggage in their bodies, the poor, helpless people in above photos must have taken advice similar to that of Gen. Voltaire Gazmin's to leave and forget belongings elsewhere and to "run for your lives."

It will appear that the kind of response the government has given is exceedingly wanting in substance. It is hoped however that as a grandfather and parent, Gazmin to no fault of his own was merely showing his personal concern for the safety of the life of the average citizen. He was probably very well-meaning and was admonishing the people not to bring their television sets, beds, furniture, cash safety vaults, washing machines, cabinets, sofa, stoves with their fuel gas tanks, desk-stand-ceiling fans, air conditioners, desktop computers and refrigerators outside of their homes and instead to proceed to a more safe location and be saved in time of major catastrophe.

The head of the Philvolcs, Dr. Renato Solidum absolutely cannot be faulted and is blameless. For decades, had been ready to accept the support for equipment upgrade and modernization. Despite the billions of funds allocated to the departments of the government, the great oversight of perpetually forgetting to take care of the Philvolcs modernization programme has consistently been committed by this government.

Despite the billions lost for the personal enrichment of selected persons in our public sector and their intimate partners in very enterprising undertakings in the private sector, no one has shown keen interest in allowing the Philvolcs to finally get hold of the adequate funding for acquisition of hardware and software that will highly increase its forecasting accuracy and its earthquake trending studies and research on the major faults all over the country. Click here for more.

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