SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH
By Ernesto M. Maceda
The Philippine Star
The 8.9 magnitude earthquake in Japan is a huge wake up call for the Philippines. Many experts have said it can happen here anytime soon. And yet we are not as prepared as the Japanese were. Many psychics had predicted the big Japanese earthquake. There’s a similar prediction for this country. A JICA study reports that Metro Manila will crumble if a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hits the area.
Metro Manila is in great danger as a major fault line exists from Muntinlupa to Taguig, Pasig, Quezon City to Marikina and Antipolo. It is certainly advisable that communities sitting right on top of the fault should now be reduced and relocated.
The President and his Cabinet must sit down immediately to formulate contingency plans for a big earthquake and tsunami.
Phivolcs officials have complained that higher ups have not given due consideration to their recommendations and requests. Phivolcs and JICA warn that a magnitude 7.2 earthquake on the Marikina fault will destroy at least 170,000 homes in Metro Manila, ignite 500 fires and cause 34,000 casualties.
One of the lessons learned from the previous Kobe earthquake in 1995 is how to keep hospitals functioning, how to make sure emergency medical help is readily available after an earthquake hits.
An inventory of all available private helicopters must now be made and plans must now be worked out with the owners for their use in an emergency. We must add fire trucks, too.
During typhoon Ondoy, we did not even have enough rubber boats.
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WAIT. . . Three Fukushima nuclear plants in Japan have been shut down by the monster earthquake. Residents within 20 kilometers of the plant were forced to evacuate because of dangers from a radiation leak due to a reported meltdown of fuel rods. Cooling systems have failed. An explosion rocked the plant.
This gives added reason for those arguing against proposing establishment of nuclear plants in the country since the Philippines is in the earthquake ring of fire. To say the least, consideration of the proposal should be suspended until a full review is made of the Fukushima experience.
Senator Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, reiterated her call for the immediate evaluation of the structural integrity of critical infrastructure in the country.
“Natural hazards are inevitable, but disasters are preventable if we make the necessary preparation. Earthquakes turn into major disasters due to unsafe structures — poorly built infrastructure, buildings in inappropriate places, inadequate design and materials specification, and shortcuts in construction,” Legarda cited.
Legarda recommended that the government must ensure that all critical infrastructure, especially schools and hospitals, are earthquake-proof.
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CHIZ WEIGHS IN. . . It looks like Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez has increased her chances of acquittal in the Senate with Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero admitting it is difficult to secure the 16 affirmative votes of senators to secure a conviction.
Escudero even criticized President Aquino for coming out publicly to direct LP Congressmen to support the impeachment petition. He said that “voting according to a party stand casts a cloud, color or shadow to the decision being made.”
Chiz pointed out that with Sen. Ping Lacson absent leaving only 22 senators to vote, Gutierrez needs to get only 7 senators to vote no or to abstain to win an acquittal.
Already, Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago, Joker Arroyo, Gringo Honasan and Jinggoy Estrada have given indications they are not supportive of the impeachment of Gutierrez. If President GMA’s Lakas party makes a party stance, then you have Senator Bong Revilla and Lito Lapid as potential dissenters. Then you have the NP group of Senators Alan Cayetano, Pia Cayetano, Manny Villar, Bongbong Marcos and Loren Legarda who can vote against as members of the political opposition to P-Noy. It makes good political sense not to strengthen the hands of P-Noy who already announced his support for Mar Roxas as LP presidential bet in 2016.
It doesn’t help that P-Noy has not gone out of his way to befriend the Senators. He even snubbed the anniversary dinner of the Senate when he was just one room away at the Sofitel Hotel.
Merceditas Gutierrez has one ace in the hole. Time is in her favor as she has less than two years to go in her term.
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CRIME WATCH. . . Cesar Guce, an aide of Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos and his driver, Randy Reyes were shot dead in an ambush in Batangas City.
Cielito Baccay, a labor leader was shot dead in Dasmariñas, Cavite. He was engaged in a dispute with management. Jefferson Lee Cataulin, 18, was shot dead in Santol, QC.
Three people were killed, eight wounded in an improvised electronic device (IED) blast inside a public school in Jolo.
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TIDBITS. . . PNP Director General Raul Bacalzo ordered NCRPO Director Nick Bartolome to personally investigate the pocketing of P12 million ransom money paid by Malaysian Eric Tong by Manila Station 5 policemen.
Abulug Vice Mayor Aline Vargas Alfonso (Lakas), daughter of the late Rep. Florencio Vargas defeated former Gov. Ed Lara (LP) in the special elections in the 2nd dist. of Cagayan with a vote of 69,461 to 26,587 for Lara.
Joselito Lopez, 40, a quality control engineer, on his return appealed to the government to save 10,000 more OFWs still in Libya. Gadhafi’s forces have retaken Ras Lanut and El Brega and getting nearer to Benghazi. OFWs still in Benghazi should consider getting out as it will be Gadhafi’s next target.
Congratulations to Gov. Manoling Ortega and the people of La Union for being adjudged the cleanest and greenest province in Northern Luzon.
Valenzuela City Councilor Shalani Soledad won as executive president of the National Movement of Young Legislators (NMYL). She also topped the list of most influential Google subscribers coming in No. 1 ahead of Kris Aquino and Ruffa Gutierrez.