MMDA, Pasig shake drills to test public’s disaster preparedness, patience

Pasig reroutes traffic for road closure

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File photo ARNOLD ALMACEN

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) appealed to the public for understanding as it holds on Friday afternoon its third metro-wide quake drill that is expected to ground traffic to a near standstill.

At exactly 4 p.m. today, cellular signal, power as well as the operations of the train lines would halt for 45 seconds to simulate the effects of the movement of the West Valley Fault that is expected to generate a 7.2-magnitude quake. And because the exercise would be held during rush hour on a payday Friday, traffic is expected to get a lot worse.

Mon Santiago, the head of the MMDA’s Metro Manila Crisis Monitoring and Management Center, said that they really designed the drill to be held at this time of day to better test the preparedness of authorities in responding to a worst case scenario. He added that they would also “test the skills” of those in charge of traffic management on how they could help bring a sense order in the event of a major quake.

While Santiago acknowledged that thousands of commuters and motorists will be inconvenienced by the drill, which also coincides with a sale at SM North Edsa, he appealed for the public’s understanding noting that “in reality we could be facing something much worse.”

“We will be inconvenienced because in reality that’s what would really happen. But an ounce of inconvenience could be negated by the fact that this exercise can help us in the end,” Santiago said. “We are doing this to strengthen our resilience [to such a disaster].”

The MMDA has not prepared any traffic rerouting schemes for the quake drill to better simulate how the authorities would respond, but MMDA chair Danilo Lim earlier said that they would deploy enforcers in several choke-point areas along Edsa to ease traffic.

The local government of Pasig, which would simulate a terrorist attack on top of its quake drill, earlier released a traffic rerouting scheme in Ortigas, as it would close Emerald Avenue starting 2 p.m.

All vehicles from Onyx Road going to ADB Avenue must take Sapphire Road then right to Julia Vargas Avenue to their destination. They could also take Garnet Road, right to Julia Vargas Avenue to their destination.

Those going to Meralco Avenue from ADB Avenue should take Ortigas Avenue to reach their destination. Meanwhile, those coming from Ortigas Avenue and going to Julia Vargas Avenue or SM Megamall, should take Meralco Avenue then right to Julia Vargas Avenue to destination.

MMDA and other disaster officials will monitor quake drill activities this year at Camp Bagong Diwa. Santiago said that this is part of a scenario where the Guadalupe bridge is seen to have collapsed. –Jovic Yee



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