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(10 November 2021)

Striving for a more prepared response mechanism during earthquake and tsunami scenario, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) through the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) tabletop and communication exercises (TTCX) on the Manila Trench Movement Earthquake and Tsunami scenario for Central Luzon earlier today.

DRRM Councils of the Province of Zambales, San Antonio Municipality, and Pundaquit Barangay DRRM Committee joined the exercise to test their existing policies, plans, and procedures, to determine and address weak areas in preparedness and response measures as well as to improve organizational interoperability, coordination mechanisms including command and control protocols.

Tackled in the TTCX is the scenario where a movement of the Manila Trench, generating a magnitude 8.3 earthquake in Northern Manila Bay and western part of Bataan recording intensity VIII in the western coast of Luzon including the Province of Zambales.

An underwater landslide has also occurred resulting in a local tsunami that is expected to hit the municipality of San Antonio, Zambales.

Exercise players responded to various guide questions based on the scenario and situations presented by the facilitators.

Situations or impacts to address include casualties, displacement of individuals, loss of communication, power, and water, damaged roads, bridges, transportation facilities, and critical facilities such as hospitals and government buildings, among others.

Additional functional activities were also part of the TCX. These focused on the management of the Emergency Operations Center, risk communication, evacuation management, interventions to livelihood losses, management of COVID-19, conduct of impact assessment and other crucial areas.

Evaluators from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), OCD Operations Service, Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), Disaster Risk Reduction Network Philippines (DRRNet) provided feedback on the performance of the players and recommended actions or measures for the enhancement of plans, policies, coordination mechanisms, and procedures.

The TTCX was composed of three modules. Module 1 centered on pre-activation where plans, measures, and programs in place in the event of earthquake and tsunami amid the pandemic are examined.

Module 2, on the other hand, presented the main scenario where a strong earthquake occurred with anticipation of tsunami. While Module 3 tackled the post activation or the de-escalation phase which encompasses the rehabilitation and recovery efforts.

The activity was facilitated by a joint team from OCD Central and OCD Region 3, headed by OCD Capacity Building and Training Service Director Tecson John Lim and OCD Central Luzon Regional Dir. Cesar Idio as exercise directors.

This TTCX is part of the activities of the Fourth Quarter Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) which will be held on 11 November 2021.