ANGELES CITY --- A businessman here has reiterated its call to the national government to immediately prepare Clark as a disaster operations center.

Rene Romero, vice chair of the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry Incorporated (PamCham), said Clark is a natural disaster recovery area because of its location.

Romero cited the urgency of the call following the reports issued by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) that Metro Manila and other provinces transected by the West Valley Fault should prepare for a powerful quake as the fault is ripe for movement.

Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum earlier said that the last major earthquake generated by the 100-kilometer fault, which runs through different cities and towns in Bulacan, Rizal, Metro Manila, Cavite and Laguna, was in 1658 or 357 years ago.

“Whether we like it or not, the safest place in Luzon nearest to Manila is Clark. By this time, the national government should have made a contingency plan [in case the Big One strikes,” Romero said.

The central government will be paralyzed if a strong earthquake will hit the national capital region and its neighboring provinces and cities, according to the businessman.

“If these happens, the whole country will be affected because the central government is situated in Metro Manila,” Romero said.

Operations of government agencies should be “mirrored” in Clark, he said.

A minimum of one month will be spent in the rehabilitation and recovery once Metro Manila was hit by a powerful ground shaking, Romero added.

“The whole Philippines will be affected in terms of economy, social services and others because the backbone of the country is in Manila. Visayas Mindanao also depends on Metro Manila,” Romero said.

“Clark is the best command center and alternative operations center for the whole country. In Clark, there is flooding and fault line. It has an airport and natural barriers against strong typhoons. Aside from these, Clark has enough space for disaster operations facilities. It is also proximate to Subic port,” he added.