ILOILO City – The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Western Visayas ordered a region-wide structural integrity assessment of roads and bridges, schools, government edifices, and private buildings such as malls and hospitals, among others.
Director Jose Roberto Nuñez issued the order yesterday following two strong earthquakes that hit Luzon on Monday and parts of the Visayas on Tuesday.
The assessment would be spearheaded by the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in coordination with the district engineering offices of the Department of Public Works and Highways and disaster management councils of various provinces, cities, towns, and barangays.
“There is an urgent need to assess the structural integrity of various infrastructures to ensure public safety at all times,” said Nuñez.
Results of the assessment, recommendations and actions taken must be immediately reported to the OCD Region 6 by the heads of various disaster management councils, he added.
In this city, Nuñez said, he would lead the inspection himself next week.
As of this writing, there has been no report of damage to Western Visayas infrastructures due to Tuesday’s earthquake.
The magnitude 6.5 quake hit Eastern Samar past noon on Tuesday but was also felt in Region 6.
Based on the information from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), an intensity IV quake was felt in Iloilo City while intensities III, II and I were felt in other parts of the region.
Nuñez advised the public to stay alert but avoid panicking.
The OCD-6, he added, would also be stepping up its earthquake safety information campaign.
Phivolcs said the two earthquakes on Monday and Tuesday did not appear to be connected.
The Philippines, because of its location on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions caused by the movement of tectonic plates.
The Pacific Ring of Fire, also referred to as the Circum-Pacific Belt, is approximately 40,000 kilometers. It traces boundaries between several tectonic plates — including the Pacific, Juan de Fuca, Cocos, Indian-Australian, Nazca, North American, and Philippine Plates.
Seventy-five percent of the Earth’s volcanoes — more than 450 volcanoes — are located along the Pacific Ring of Fire, according to the National Geographic. Ninety percent of Earth’s earthquakes occur along its path, including the planet’s most violent and dramatic seismic events./PN