Earthquake impact reduction study for metropolitan republic

of the Philippines


In response to the request of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines
(hereinafter referred to as “GOP”), the Government of Japan (hereinafter referred to as
“GOJ”) decided to conduct the “Study for Earthquake Impact Reduction for Metropolitan
Manila in the Republic of the Philippines” (hereinafter referred to as “the Study” or by
the acronym “MMEIRS” for short). The Japan International Cooperation Agency
(hereinafter referred to as “JICA”), the official agency responsible for the implementation
of technical cooperation programs of GOJ, undertook the Study in accordance with the
relevant laws and regulations in force in Japan. On the part of GOP, the Metropolitan
Manila Development Authority (hereinafter referred “MMDA”) and the Philippine Institute
of Volcanology and Seismology (hereinafter referred “PHIVOLCS”), acted as the
counterpart agencies to the Japanese Study Team (hereinafter referred “the Team”) and
also as the coordinating bodies in relation with other governmental and non-
governmental organizations concerned with the smooth implementation of the Study.

Since 1900, more than 30 earthquakes have caused some damage to Metropolitan
Manila. Many faults have been identified around and within Metropolitan Manila, but the
Valley Fault System that runs north to south along the west and east edges of the
Marikina Valley is thought to pose the greatest threat to Metropolitan Manila due to its
close proximity. Of all the natural disasters that Metropolitan Manila has experienced
throughout its history (such as tropical cyclones, droughts and floods, tsunamis,
volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes), earthquakes pose the greatest threat to the life,
property, and the economy. Since Metropolitan Manila is the leading city in the
Philippines, and the center of governmental, financial, commercial, and social activities,
the impact of a large earthquake in Metropolitan Manila will greatly affect the nation. The
damage estimation of a potential rupture of the West Valley Fault, is that 40% of the
total number of residential buildings within Metropolitan Manila will be heavily or partly
damaged, and the earthquake will cause approximately 34,000 deaths and 1,144,000
injuries. Moreover, fire spreading as a secondary effect of the earthquake will cause an
additional 18,000 deaths. The Metropolitan Manila area, together with neighboring
provinces, is expected to grow continuously and reach 25 million inhabitants in the
expanded urbanized area of 1,500 km2 by 2015. This growing urbanization is creating
unacceptable levels of an earthquake disaster in terms of both human and property
losses. Therefore, the Metropolitan Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study was
undertaken to develop a plan and strategies for “A Safer Metropolitan Manila from
Earthquake Impact”.

Summary of the Article

Metropolitan Manila, which is composed of 13 cities and 4 municipalities, is the political,
economic, and cultural center of the Philippines. The population of Metropolitan Manila
is approximately 10 million at present. It has been developing and is now one of the
most densely populated areas in Southeast Asia. Rapid population growth started in the
1970’s, when the population was approximately 4 million. It increased to 6 million in the
1980s, 8 million in the 1990s and 10 million at present. The population has increased by
2.5 times in the last 30 years. Additionally, this rapid population growth is affecting the
fringe areas of Metropolitan Manila, and the population is expected to grow to 25 million
by the year 2015 based on the estimate of another JICA Study.

Rapid urbanization usually occurs without satisfactory infrastructure construction. This
condition often results in the poor housing condition, highly dense areas, and areas
characterized by mixed land use and other inappropriate conditions. Thus, the potential
for natural disaster increases and the reduction of vulnerability to disasters is a pressing
issue for the safety of residents.
Geographically, Metropolitan Manila is located in Luzon Island. Numerous earthquake
generators, such as the Valley Fault System (VFS), Philippine Fault, Lubang Fault,
Manila Trench, and Casiguran Fault, are located in and around it. Among these faults,
the Valley Fault System, Earthquake Impact Reduction Study for Metropolitan Manila in
the Republic of the Philippines -1-2- which transects the study area, is considered to
potentially cause the largest impact to the Metropolitan Manila area should it generate a
large maximum earthquake.

Topographically, the Metropolitan Manila area is composed of coastal lowlands, a
central plateau where the central district including Makati is located, as well as alluvial
lowlands along the Marikina River and the Laguna Lake. In case of an earthquake,
liquefaction in these lowland areas may cause damage to buildings and infrastructure.
In addition, tsunami can also occur along the Manila Bay.

Recent studies show that the West Valley Fault has moved at least 4 times and
generated strong earthquakes within the last 1,400 years. The approximate return
period of these earthquakes is less than 500 years and no event along the West Valley
Fault is known after 17th century. This means that the active phases of the Valley Fault
is approaching. Many research studies indicate that the estimated magnitude will be
around 7 or more.

In order to manage the potential earthquake disaster in Metropolitan Manila, it is
necessary to prepare an earthquake disaster mitigation plan, and to start actions as
soon as possible. The disaster management plan will be focused on raising awareness
of concerned organizations, employing a comprehensive disaster management
approach, and strengthening vertical synergetic networks from the central government
to local governments to communities.

Therefore, GOP requested GOJ to conduct this Study as a technical cooperation
program. JICA, as the official implementation agency of this Study, sent a Team to the
Philippines in middle of August 2000 to commence the project.
Analysis of the Article

The Philippine archipelago represents a complex system of microplates that are being
compressed between two convergent plate margins that bound the nation: the
Philippine Sea to the east and Eurasian plates to the west. Between the convergent
subduction zones, oblique tectonic motion is accommodated by numerous crustal faults
that traverse the archipelago; in particular, the 1,600 kmlong Philippine Fault Zone,
which runs from northern Luzon in the north through to the island of Mindanao in the
southern Philippines

Earthquake risk analysis extends upon methodologies developed through the Quick
Unified Inventory of Vulnerability and Exposure for REDAS (QuiveR) Project through
functions such as improved site class models based upon a combination of
geotechnical measurements and topographic slope, and the review of ground-motion
prediction equations (GMPEs) based on measured strong ground motions from the

The WVF transects the eastern part of Metro Manila and posed the most significant
earthquake threat to Metro Manila and nearby provinces. Understanding the frequency
of large earthquakes on the WVF and the potential magnitudes are of critical importance
to emergency managers to prepare for and mitigate against the impact of these
infrequent, high consequence events.

In addition to the provision of earthquake impact information from improved ground-
shaking, exposure and vulnerability models, this project included a paleoseismic
trenching activity to attempt to better constrain both the potential frequency and
magnitude of large earthquakes.
1.To be sure, Metro Manila continue to learn the lessons worth learning and
understanding the various ramifications of the JICA study on earthquake impact
reduction. The Study has managed to renew our collective interest in seismic-related
disaster distinct from recurrent calamites wrought by typhoons and fire. It has also
allowed us to keep in step with advances in earthquake mitigation being adopted by the
global community.

2. Metro Manila concentrating their efforts on there areas that have direct impact on
local governance agencies. Auspiciously, the concepts, principles and even the
deliverables under these specific goals dovetail with existing competencies and
capabilities in responding to other tropical calamities like typhoons. We need only to
redirect and beef up these available capacities to the more special demands of
earthquake impact mitigation particularly in predictive mechanisms and post-even

3. The Study was undertaken by international experts and incorporates global
experiences in seismic impact reduction. By hewing close to the results of the study, the
current initiatives of Metro Manila to meet the minimum international standards in
earthquake disaster mitigation.