Capitol holds earthquake drill

ON a scale of one to 10, Provincial Administrator Mark Tolentino rated yesterday’s earthquake drill at 7.5, saying everybody seemed familiar with his role.

When the siren sounded at 9:20 a.m., the whole Capitol compound was silent. Only those wearing orange and red shirts were seen running in and out of buildings “saving” people.

Those in orange shirts were personnel of the Provincial Disaster Risk-Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) while those in red were Philippine Red Cross (PRC) and other volunteer groups.

Minutes later, Capitol employees walked out of the buildings and headed to their pre-designated evacuation areas on the front lawn and the back of Capitol building. They sat in clusters according to their department.

At 9:55 a.m., a “victim” stood up after getting bored lying on the lobby of the condemned Bureau of Agriculture Ext. building for minutes without getting any help. Media members rushed to interview him.

Sixteen students from Abellana National High School acted as earthquake victims in the drill.

At 10:05, a wailing ambulance and a truckload of Central Command (CentCom) emergency personnel in orange shirts arrived at the Capitol Compound.

At 10:09 a.m., PDRRMO operations chief Rhafael Luche reported to Tolentino at the incident command post (ICP) that three were dead and 17 were injured.

At 10:10 a.m., another wailing firetruck of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) arrived.

Personnel broke part of a concrete wall of the agriculture building to get in.

“We will note your observation and we will bring this up with concerned agencies,” Tolentino told reporters who noticed delays in some responses.

Tolentino said different agencies coordinated with each other well, unlike before.

The government agencies that converged in Capitol for the drill were PRC, BFP, CentCom, Federation of Volunteers through Radio Communication (FVRC), Cebu Doctors’ University (CDU) medical personnel, Department of Health (DOH) and students from Abellana and Cebu Technological University (CTU).

“At least we are getting better,” said Tolentino.

Asked if the drill is an assurance that no one will panic during an earthquake, Tolentino said, “We will never know what will be their reaction. But with education they will know what to do.”

The drill yesterday cost the Province P34,000, PDRRMO officer Jules Regner said.

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