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4,000 participate in Caraga quake drill

By Ben Serrano, Correspondent

BUTUAN CITY – At least 4,000 individuals from private institutions, majority of whom from schools and government offices in different areas in Caraga Region participated in a nationwide simultaneous earthquake drill, an official of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD-Caraga) here, said, Friday.

Manuel Luis Ochotoena, OCD-Caraga regional director said that in Agusan del Sur, particularly in Bayugan City a total 2,000 students from Bayugan National Comprehensive High School and Bayugan Pilot School participated in the drill.

“Bayugan City Hall personnel and workers and officials of the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management office (also) joined the drill yesterday,” said Ocho-torena who personally witnessed the drill.

Ochotorena said some 200 participants composed of students, government workers, city government personnel and medical personnel from Butuan Medical Center supervised by the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council Office (CDRRMCO) conducted the simultaneous drill at the Butuan City Medical Center in Barangay Tiniwi-san this city.

Ochotorena also said other provinces in Caraga Region like Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur and Dinagat islands also conducted similar drills.

“However because of the far distance, reports about nationwide drill for the entire Caraga Region has not yet been reported to this office but we are expecting them to report and submit it to us. We estimate more than 4,000 for the entire Caraga Region joined the National Simultaneous Earthquake Drill,” Ochotoena added.

In Agusan del Norte, OCD-Caraga regional officer operations officer Mark July Yap supervised some 1,200 students, teachers and other participants from New Northern Mindanao Colleges Incorporated.

Ochotorena, who just assumed as regional director of OCD-Caraga two weeks ago, observed that the earthquake drill they implemented still lacked community and family-based disaster preparedness and consciousness.

“This is actually what was lacking, that’s why we will discuss this with my staff as soon as possible so that we can come up with a comprehensive plan to address it. I will also try to discuss these issues with local government officials in the region to come up with a master comprehensive plan,” Ochotorena added.

He said that OCD-Caraga has yet to draw up a comprehensive disaster map which should include the exact location of the Philippine fault line that reportedly traverses Caraga region.

“While there is sketch location of the Philippine fault line that passes, transverses Caraga Region we cannot actually exactly pinpoint as of now of what public buildings, schools, crowded areas or places located on top of the fault line so far. This is also what we lack,” Ochotorena and Yap told Gold Star Daily in an interview at the OCD office.

Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvolcs) executive director Renato Solidum, in his two visits here, said that some parts of this city and Caraga region, in general may be in danger with “the big one” to occur. He said that the Philippine fault line under Caraga region could generate a powerful 7.2 to 7.4 intensity earthquake.

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About Ben Serrano

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Ben Serrano covers Caraga for The Gold Star Daily, and is based in Butuan City.

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