(Photo courtesy of PNP Public Information Office)

MANILA – The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) thanked the public for its participation in Thursday's third quarter National Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED), which featured face-to-face exercises for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began in March 2020.

"Maraming salamat sa inyong pakikiisa sa third quarter NSED. Mag-sama-sama tayo ulit sa fourth quarter NSED sa ika-11 ng Nobyembre para sa ating patuloy na pagpapatibay ng kahandaan laban sa lindol dahil ligtas at#BidaAngHanda! (Thank you very much for participating in the third quarter NSED. Let us participate again in the fourth NSED which is scheduled on November 11 as preparedness is the key safely in mitigating the effects of earthquakes and remember that #BidaAngHanda! (those prepared are good)," it said on a post its Facebook page.

Stakeholders are encouraged to conduct drills simultaneously in support of the NSED while strictly observing minimum public health standards.

The program started at 8 a.m. with the ceremonial pressing of the button taking place at the Macea Building in Legazpi Village, Makati City.

A full-scale exercise was also conducted to test the response capabilities of the Makati City government unit in the event of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake.

Scenarios include community evacuation, activation of an incident command post, fire suppression, search and rescue in collapsed structures, response to mass casualty incidents, and high-angle rescue.

OCD Administrator Undersecretary Raymundo Ferrer said these drills are vital in saving lives in the event of a strong earthquake.

"Binabati at pinapasalamatan ko lahat ng mga kababayan natin na nag-duck, cover and hold bilang pakikiisa sa ating ikatlong NSED para sa taong 2022(I greet and thank all of our fellow Filipinos who participated in the duck, cover and hold for the third NSED this year)," he said in a statement.

Ferrer, who is also executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), also thanked all DRRM councils, OCD regional officers, national government agencies, local government units, universities and schools, stakeholders, and friends from the private sector, partner organization, and even those who monitored the third quarter NSED at the Civil Defense and NDRRMC Facebook and Youtube pages.

The OCD chief said their NSED initiatives will continue as it is one of the many activities that will help enhance the preparedness of the Filipinos in facing earthquakes and other calamities.

He added that this is why the NSED continued even if the country is in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and other natural calamities.

"Hindi titigil ang NDRRMC sa pagsasagawa ng mga programa at aktibidad na ganito dahil hindi rin nawawala ang mga banta ng kalamidad sa atin lipunan (The NDRRMC will never stop conducting programs and activities like these as the threats of posed by calamities in our community still remain)," Ferrer said.

BRP Antonio Luna joins Q3 NSED

Meanwhile, missile frigate BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151) conducted emergency underway exercises as it joined the third quarter NSED while docked at Naval Base Operating Base Subic, Zambales on Thursday.

"While the duck, cover, and hold is being practiced as primary actions during earthquake drill, the officers and men aboard BRP Antonio Luna took a quick response in setting the emergency getting underway (EGU) bill to safely man the ship, and immediately pull away from the pier," the ship said in its Facebook page.

This ship's bill is employed not only for earthquakes but for any emergency situations where the vessel must sail as needed.

"In today's (Thursday's) drill, it was held to test, validate emergency procedures and preparedness of personnel in the event of potential earthquakes," the post further said.

Through the ship's continuous and training-focused procedures, BRP Antonio Luna effectively carried out its involvement in the NSED where it performed a 10-minute timeline simulation of the ship's draw-out. (PNA)