MANILA -- Government agencies are coming together to scale up preparations for the “Big One,” which refers to the predicted 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Metro Manila to be generated by the movement of the West Valley Fault.

“Kailangan natin inter-agency para ‘yung awareness level will be high, and ‘yung coordination of line agencies will be stronger” (We need an inter-agency cooperation so the level of awareness will be high, and the coordination of line agencies will be stronger), said Department of Information and Communications (DICT) Assistant Secretary Alan Silor on Wednesday.

“Gusto nating malaman ng public na, if disaster happens, alam ng mga tao kung ano ang gagawin nila, so that’s the focal issues that we’re gonna take up” (We want the public to know that if disaster happens, they know the measures to do, so these are the focal issues that we’re gonna take up), Silor added.

The DICT and the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) are the lead agencies in building a strong information campaign to raise public awareness on preparing for a major earthquake that could strike anytime.

For his part, Communications Assistant Secretary Kristian Ablan said the role of PCOO is to “communicate the information needed for citizens to be prepared”.

“It’s very important that all agencies of government are unified and consistent in its messaging for the citizens to be prepared for any natural disaster including the earthquake that’s why we’re all meeting together from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, the DICT, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Metro Manila Development Authority, the PCOO and its family of agencies,” Ablan said.

“Our citizens need to be prepared, for example how many liters of water do our citizens need to save? What are the items that are in their emergency bag? What are the procedures once an earthquake happens, where do they go?” Ablan added.

The inter-agency organization’s Technical Working Group Resiliency Team held its first meeting on Wednesday, aimed at coming up with the best practices to build a communication campaign to scale up preparedness measures for the “Big One.”

The West Valley Fault, which is one of two major segments of the Marikina Valley Fault System, runs through Metro Manila to the cities of Marikina, Quezon City, Pasig, Makati, Taguig and Muntinlupa.

The fault possesses a threat of a large-scale earthquake with an estimated magnitude as high as 7.6.

Such an earthquake is predicted to cause massive destruction of lives and properties in Metro Manila.

The Philippines, which sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire where earthquakes and volcanic activities are common, has had its own share of deadly earthquakes.

The deadliest earthquake to hit the Philippines in recent memory occurred on July 16, 1990 when a magnitude 7.7 earthquake hit parts of Central and Northern Luzon and killing an estimated 1,621 people. (ROM/PNA)