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Probe into PH quake readiness eyed

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A Senate resolution was filed Friday seeking for a probe into the readiness of the government, local government units and stakeholders to respond and recover from potential massive earthquakes.

Under Senate resolution 322, detained Sen. Leila de Lima directed the appropriate Senate committees to assess the country’s earthquake preparedness following the recent increase in frequency of earthquakes that hit parts of the country.

“There is a need for a holistic assessment and strengthening of the respective capacities of national government agencies, local government units and other stakeholders to mitigate, respond and recover from a potential massive earthquake,” De Lima said in filing her resolution.

De Lima said the Senate inquiry wants to find out how Republic Act No. 10121, also known as the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, is currently being implemented.

Under Section 2 of the RA 10121, the State is mandated “to uphold people’s constitutional rights to life and property by addressing the root causes of vulnerabilities to disasters, strengthening the country’s institutional capacity for disaster risk reduction and management, and building the resilience of local communities to disasters.”

Citing Japanese study which claims that Metro Manila is due for the “Big One” earthquake and a Swiss study which considered Manila as the “riskiest city in the world” next to Tokyo, Japan, she also called for a review and possible revision of Republic Act No. 6541, also known as the National Building Code of the Philippines.

“The National Building Code should be revisited and amended to ensure that homeowners and building administrators will upgrade and retrofit their houses or buildings to comply with the minimum requirements provided by the Code,” she said.

She pointed out that the country’s capital is located near two major fault lines — the West Valley Fault and the Manila Trench.

Based on the 2016 World Risk Index, the Philippines is considered as the “third most vulnerable country with the highest disaster risk.” The country is situated along the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire”, the most active earthquake belt in the world.

De Lima is currently detained in the Philippine National Police Custodial Center for drug trafficking charges. However, she is allowed to continue to file bills and resolutions in the Senate. (PNA)