Editorial: A tremor and some questions

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Monday, March 30, 2015


THE Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) listed the tremor that struck at past 9 a.m. yesterday and whose epicenter it located at eight kilometers southwest of Buenavista town in Bohol as a 4.7 magnitude earthquake.

It wasn’t as strong as the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that hit mainly Bohol and Cebu in October 2013, but it was enough to bring back the memories and the worries.

In Metro Cebu where the earthquake’s magnitude was lower, it was enough to send some employees of private firms and government offices momentarily out of their buildings. Gov. Hilario Davide III had Capitol employees work for only half of the working day while Talisay City Mayor Johnny V. de los Reyes immediately sent City Hall employees home.

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The tremor yesterday can be considered a reminder of what government and the public may have forgotten from October 2013 to yesterday. That earthquake was followed by super typhoon Yolanda that devastated parts of the Visayas and caught public attention for months.

The images of crumbled heritage churches in Bohol were eventually replaced by those of fallen structures and unburied bodies of victims of a deadly storm surge in Leyte, specifically in Tacloban City. So there wasn’t enough time to digest the tremor’s lessons.

Now that the worries about our vulnerability to tremors have been rekindled, it would be good to ask a few questions.

In the construction of new structures, have both the government and those in the private sector made sure that what were built could withstand strong earthquakes?

How strictly has government been monitoring the construction of new structures in their areas of responsibility? Has corruption, say, in the giving of permits, been taken out of the equation so the integrity of new structures won’t be compromised?

How are local government units preparing their constituents for earthquakes? Are earthquake-readiness plans being drafted and earthquake drills regularly conducted?

Have we gotten complacent again?

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 31, 2015.

Opinion

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