THE Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) gave its workforce a modest 85 percent grade for performing their assigned tasks “very well” during the recently concluded Metro Manila Shake Drill.
“The Shake Drill was well organized and our personnel know their tasks very well, they know what to do when disaster strikes,” said MMDA General Manager Jose Arturo “Jojo” Garcia during a press briefing Friday afternoon.
Garcia noted that among the highlights of the Thursday drill, which aims to enhance the public’s preparedness on the “Big One,” was the way agency personnel handled the situation and how they responded to the earthquake scenarios amid heavy rains.
Like the public, agency personnel were only informed an hour before on the day of the drill. Telecommunication companies sent alert messages and alarms to mobile subscribers, he said.
Garcia also said many of the personnel deployed at designated evacuation centers and command posts in northern, southern, western and eastern locations in Metro Manila have spent several nights there just to carry out their preparedness plans.
Another notable improvement this year, Garcia observed, is communication among the quadrants.
“We have backup phones. Aside from our cellular phones, we have satellite phones on hand,” he said.
The Metro Manila Shake Drill, which was deactivated on Friday afternoon, raked up over a billion impressions on social media which showed Metro-wide engagement of the people in the disaster preparedness exercise.
However, Garcia noted that the Shake Drill has still a lot of room for improvement.
“It (Shake Drill) was not perfect. There is still a lot more work to do in the succeeding drills,” Garcia said, noting that there is a need to upgrade tools and equipment for emergency cases.
Moreover, Garcia also lamented the failure of motorists to yield to ambulances and emergency vehicles on the road. He attributed this failure to ignorance.
“We are calling on motorists to always give way to ambulances and emergency vehicles. Veer to the left or to the right and give way,” Garcia said as he plead to motorists.