The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) on Friday, July 19, 2019, reported the creation of an office that will ensure the earthquake resilience of the country’s infrastructure.
Public Works Secretary Mark Villar formed the DPWH Earthquake Resiliency Program Management Office (ER-PMO) through Department Order (DO) 75 dated July 10, which would serve as an integrated department approach in addressing earthquake resiliency problems.
“We need to fast-track the implementation of interventions to make sure that our infrastructure cannot just withstand earthquake but also protect the people in the event of an earthquake, particularly ‘The Big One’ that is anticipated to hit any time in Mega Manila,” he said in a statement.
Under the order, a technical steering committee was also formed to collect and review situational reports, oversee the accomplishment of regional operations, and create policy decisions.
A separate support services committee was also tasked to formulate long- and medium-term resiliency development plans and ensure funding for the whole program.
According to experts, the “Big One” is a scenario of a 7.2-magnitude quake in Metro Manila that could be triggered by movements at the Valley Fault System.
The last time the country experienced a 7.2 earthquake was in Central Visayas on Oct. 15, 2013. More than 200 persons perished from the quake while damage to infrastructure was estimated at more than PHP2.2 billion.
The Resiliency Office is led by Villar, with Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain for Technical Services as alternate; and the directors of the Bureau of Maintenance and Unified Project Management Offices as deputy for operations and support, respectively.
The department order was issued pursuant to Executive Order 52 series of 2018 titled “Creating the Program Management Office for Earthquake Resiliency of the Greater Metro Manila”.
Villar also announced the creation of three Regional Operations Groups headed by the undersecretaries for regional operations to conduct vulnerability and risk assessment of vital infrastructure in the provinces and collaborating with the local government units in mitigating risks.
To assist the DPWH ER-PMO, several agencies were identified to serve as support agencies – the National Economic and Development Authority; the departments of finance, budget, interior and local government, and social welfare; the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council; Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology; and Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Mines and Geosciences Bureau. (Ferdinand Patinio, Philippine News Agency)