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Earthquake and Fire Drill in Cotabato City, Successful

City officials and other line agencies commend the earthquake and fire simulation in Cotabato City conducted by the
City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council together with the Office on Civil Defense and other partner
organizations.
Out of 10 as the highest score, an excellent 9 points was given to the City's Search and Rescue Teams, the City Fire
Department, the Office on Health Services, the rescuers from the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center, and other
rescuers who participated in the activity.
Secretary to the Mayor Aniceto Rasalan congratulated all the teams for a job well done. He hopes that whatever
action took place during the drill will be carried on when the real disaster strikes.
City DILG Director Guianodin Abdila however commented on the equipments used by the members of the SAR
Team. He said their rescue operations were excellent but the equipments they were using were already quite old so
there is a need for updating and upgrading.
"I am requesting the Mayor's office to check on the equipments of our rescue group to see whether they should be
replaced or maybe upgraded. This is for the betterment of their operations in the future", Abdila said.
OCD 12 Director Lita Enok was also impressed by the drill but said there is still some room for improvement. She
suggested that an incident command post be established for a better information system among all the stakeholders.
This way, coordination for rescue operations will be easier as the communication among the rescue teams, the city
government, and the CDRRMC, will be more organized and centralized.
"In emergency situations like this, sometimes there will be relatives who will worry about their loved ones. So at least,
if we could have a centralized information system, they can just call and then ask us or give us the description of their
family member and then we can rescue them if ever they were really trapped", Enok said.
During the evaluation of the drill, Secretary to the Mayor Rasalan conveyed Vice President Jejomar Binay's
instruction to the Mayor about strengthening the city's earthquake preparedness schemes. A fire road plan must be
formulated so the rescuers will easily determine the roads they will be taking during an emergency situation and the
victims will also be able to know where they could run for help.
"The important thing here is that we could avoid congestion on the streets every time there is a disaster because this
can really hamper the rescue operations. Also the TMU also plays an important role because they are the ones who
can regulate the flow of traffic and determine where functional water hydrants are located", Rasalan said.
CDRRMC Action Officer Sam Mundas said that the Technical Working Group is already working on the fire safety
plan of the city and that they are now preparing for the immediate inspection of the fire prone areas of the city.
Meanwhile City Mayor Japal J. Guiani, Jr. has already submitted a request to the Sangguniang Panlungsod for an
allocation of 1 Million Pesos from the city's calamity fund for disaster preparedness and is hoping that this will be
acted upon by the City Council on their next session.
The earthquake and fire drill conducted in the city is part of the simultaneous drills ordered by the National Disaster
Risk Reduction and Management Council and is also timely for the celebration of the Fire Prevention Month. (OCMPIPD)