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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

AFP joins nationwide earthquake drill

CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will join the nationwide earthquake drill to test its disaster preparedness and capability at the General Headquarters grandstand here tomorrow, November 14 at 9 am.

The drill will be held simultaneously at the GHQ grandstand, Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) and Quezon City Memorial Circle.

AFP will serve as the communication center while a makeshift hospital will be established at the VMMC. The ceremony will be held at the Quezon City Memorial Circle where a scenario of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hits the city. 

Among the assets that will be utilized during the drill are two air ambulance aircraft from the Philippine Air Force that will participate in the casualty air evacuation simulation exercise; and two air ambulance aircraft from Joint Task Force NCR for the simulated casualty evacuation from GHQ grandstand to VMMC.

The AFP’s Communication Electronic and Information System will establish a communication system for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) monitoring operation center at the GHQ grandstand and at the AFP-OCD coordination center in VMMC.

They will also set up a system that will link them to their counterparts at the different engagement area in VMMC regional level and Quezon City Memorial Circle for disaster response and monitoring.

A cellular broadcast team from the AFP Reserve Command (AFPRESCOM) will be organized for text blast operations during the activity.

The AFP General Headquarters and Headquarters Service Command will provide Ambu-medic team from Camp Aguinaldo Station Hospital for the evacuation of scenario victims from Brgy. Socorro Quezon City to GHQ helipad for casualty evacuation.

The Army’s 525th Engineering Combat Battalion Search Rescue and Retrieval Teams will join in the collapse structure search and rescue at the VMMC.

The activity is part of the quarterly simultaneous Earthquake Drill organized by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council together with partner agencies such as DOH, BFP, PNP, PVOCS and other NDRRMC member agencies.

Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista along with Secretary of National Defense, Voltaire Gazmin, NDRRMC Executive Director USEC Alexander Pama and AFP Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. John S. Bonafos are expected to attend tomorrow’s ceremony that will be held at Quezon City Memorial Circle.

The conduct of earthquake drills is a constant practice in AFP camps to further test its capability to respond to earthquake disasters.

Just recently, the nation commemorated the 1st year anniversary of the 2013 Bohol earthquake that occurred on October 15, 2013.

The 7.2 magnitude earthquake which hit the island province affected the whole Central Visayas region, particularly Bohol and Cebu. More than 200 people were reported dead, more than 900 were injured and 73,000 structures were damaged after the deadly earthquake.

The AFP was among the agencies that immediately deployed first respondents o help the victims of said earthquake which claimed over 200 lives.

“Climate change and the natural disasters that it brings are our biggest enemies today. We must always prepare ourselves and the country as a whole in calamitous events such as strong earthquakes that could hit the metropolis anytime,” said AFP Chief of Staff, General Gregorio Pio P. Catapang Jr.

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