MANILA — Media practitioners must be knowledgeable and capable of understanding disasters and other hazards for them to be able to effectively report these events and contribute to increasing public awareness, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said on Wednesday.
“We want to make sure that when it comes to the understanding of the hazards like earthquakes, we are (the media and NDRRMC) are on equal footing,” NDRRMC spokesperson Mark Cashean Timbal said in an interview on the sidelines of the #BidaAngHanda: Talk on Earthquake Preparedness and other Geological Hazards for media practitioners held in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
Timbal said the orientation aims to fully educate media partners on the dangers of earthquakes and other geological hazards that usually occur in the country.
“We also want to showcase the government interventions and preparedness measures for these emergencies and to gather support for the conduct of the nationwide simultaneous earthquake drill. We hope that through our media friends, we would be able to encourage public participation to the drills,” he added.
The event is part of activities prior to the conduct of the first quarter Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) scheduled on March 12.
In case of earthquakes, Timbal said everybody should remain calm, look for the safest and nearest exit route, beware of falling debris and proceed to designated evacuation assembly areas.
Resource persons from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said a daily average of 20 earthquakes hit the Philippines that lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a region where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are frequent due to friction between shifting tectonic plates.
Earlier, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año ordered local government units (LGUs) to conduct an assessment of buildings and infrastructures in their areas in preparation for major earthquakes.
He added that this is part of measures on disaster resilience based on Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2019-01 (Ensuring Safe, Adoptive and Disaster Resilient Communities, and Enhancing the Country’s Readiness against Earthquakes), with the Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Public Works and Highways.
Based on the joint circular, negligent local officials may face criminal and administrative liability that could lead to dismissal from office and prohibition from running for public office. (IA/PNA)