The NDRRMC calls off the disaster preparedness activity after President Rodrigo Duterte suspends government work and classes on September 21
MANILA, Philippines (Sept. 19, 2017) — The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) called off the national simultaneous earthquake drill (NSED) that was initially scheduled on Thursday, September 21, opting to postpone the activity to a later date.
The NDRRMC ordered the postponement after President Rodrigo Duterte suspended government work and classes on September 21, declaring it as a “national day of protest.”
“In compliance with the President’s pronouncement for suspension of government work and classes, we decided to postpone it to [a] later date for maximum participation,” NDRRMC Executive Director Ricardo Jalad confirmed in a text message to Rappler.
Earlier, netizens expressed concern over the untimely schedule of the earthquake drill. It was set on the same day when various political groups are expected to hold rallies to mark the declaration of martial law 45 years ago.
Office of Civil Defense Spokesperson Mina Marasigan earlier clarified that the earthquake drill does not aim to undermine the commemoration activities happening on the same day.
“We just thought of September 21, notwithstanding kung ano man ang sine-celebrate noong araw na iyon, kung ano man iyon ng history ang natatak doon,” she told the media on Monday, September 18.
(We just thought of September 21 notwithstanding the historical events attached to that day.)
Marasigan said on Tuesday, September 19, that they have not yet decided on a new schedule.
“The President has made a declaration na walang klase and napili ay national high schools. So hindi na lang namin tinuloy. In fact, we wanted to push through but to give way na lang din,” she added.
(The President declared the suspension of classes and national high schools are covered so we decided to postpone the earthquake drill. In fact, we wanted to push through but we decided otherwise to give way.)
The quarterly nationwide earthquake drill is held to test the preparedness and workflows of all government units in case a strong earthquake strikes Metro Manila.
Based on a 2014 study, the movement of the West Valley Fault that is expected to happen within our lifetime is estimated to cause a magnitude 7.2 quake in Metro Manila and neighboring cities and towns.