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EARTHQUAKE RESILIENCE CONFERENCE: Collaboration and Coordination in Preparedness and Response

Concept Note

According to the Philippine Volcanology and Seismology Institute (PHIVOLCS), some 90 destructive earthquakes have occurred in the Philippines over the past 400 years. Historical records show that Metro Manila's West Valley Fault is due for a major tremor – a worst-case scenario of 7.2 magnitude earthquake that would devastate the metropolis, leave 31,000 dead and over 126,000 seriously injured, and cause 2.23 trillion pesos in economic damage. An additional 18,000 people may die from 500 fires triggered by the earthquake. Forty per cent of buildings and residential homes in Metro Manila may be destroyed or damaged and over 3 million people may need to be evacuated. Of particular concern are the 4-6 million informal settlers in the metropolitan area that are most at risk in the event of a major earthquake. 

Metro Manila may separate into four isolated zones based on geography. Collapsed buildings in Makati and Mandaluyong as well as the Pasig River may separate the northern and southern parts of the metropolis, while broken road networks may isolate the west and east of the capital.  The capital region faces isolation due to collapsed roads and buildings as well as fires.

West Valley Fault Line Map

The fault line is marked in blue

The fault line is marked in blue

The key to minimizing and mitigating the death and destruction caused by a major earthquake is disaster preparedness. This presumes that various stakeholders and sectors of society – all levels of government, the military, the business community, the Church, civil society organizations and other stakeholders – not only have individual plans but a collective and well-coordinated strategy to cope with challenges of a major natural hazard.

It is in this context that the Carlos P. Romulo Foundation, Zuellig Family Foundation and the Manila Observatory are convening a conference on May 20-21, 2015 to review our current state of earthquake preparedness and to develop a common contingency plan that spells out how the various stakeholders will work together in the event of a major earthquake. The Earthquake Resilience Conference is the second in the series of events that the three sponsoring organizations are organizing over the next three years to increase awareness of the risks the country faces from multiple natural hazards as well as from climate change and find concrete ways to build a climate and disaster-resilient society. This will be organized in cooperation with the Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation (PDRF), the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA). 

Preparatory Meeting for the Earthquake Resilience Conference

To prepare for the conference, a half-day preparatory meeting was held on February 25, at the Tower Club in the Philamlife Tower, Makati. In his keynote presentation, Dr. Renato Solidum, Director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, outlined a five-part priority strategic approach to contend with a strong earthquake, including: strengthening the legal framework and institutional capacity for disaster management; building capacity for relief and recovery; strengthening community preparedness; reducing seismic dangers of residential structures; and enhancing national system to become resistant to impact of earthquakes.

Three key messages stood out in both the presentations and discussion: (i) disaster preparedness is crucial to saving lives and property; (ii) multi-stakeholder collaboration and coordination are absolutely essential to effective disaster preparedness and response; and (iii) a holistic and integrated approach to disaster risk reduction and management is needed to building the country’s disaster and climate-resilience. 

Objectives of the Earthquake Resilience Conference

The Earthquake Resilience Conference aims to promote a concerted, collaborative and coordinated approach to earthquake preparedness and response among the various sectors/stakeholders concerned, i.e., government at national and local levels, the Armed Forces, the business sector, civil society and community-based organizations, the Church, scientific and research institutions, humanitarian organizations and the media. Building on the individual preparedness and response plans of the various sectors/stakeholders, the Conference will seek to identify the areas where collaboration and coordination are needed for those plans to work effectively. 

As an illustration, the following scenario serves to underscore the importance of linking stakeholders’ individual contingency and business continuity plans as well as the need for coordination and mutually reinforcing actions.

The utility companies already have plans in place to restore power and communications in the aftermath of a natural disaster.  But those plans assume that the people responsible will be available to carry out their pre-assigned tasks.  If however, the workers and/or members of their immediate family become victims of the natural disaster themselves (as did happen in Tacloban with super typhoon Yolanda), it is unlikely that the expected manpower will be available to restore power and communications in a short period of time. Even if the workers are available, they may not be able to report for work for lack of transport, assuming a scenario where a magnitude 7.2 earthquake destroys much of the transport system, Metro Manila bridges are destroyed and debris from collapsed buildings and houses make the streets unpassable to vehicles.  What then would the utility companies require from others that would enable them to restore and maintain power and communication? Who would help them bring the utility workers to where they are needed? 

This scenario highlights the point that individual plans are not enough.  There is a need to find practical ways to ensure that those individual plans work together and reinforce one another in the event of a disaster to ensure an effective and organized response. 


Seven key areas/clusters were identified as requiring a collaborative and coordinated approach:

  1. Risk Framework and Scenario - Hazard, exposure and vulnerabilities mapping;
  2. Infrastructure;
  3. Basic Social Services
  4. Search and Rescue and Recovery;
  5. Maintenance of peace and order; and Emergency Information Dissemination
  6. Community-based Social Protection
  7. Finance and Insurance sector

The presentations and group discussions in these areas will be guided by the following questions:

  1. Who does what in relation to identified risks?
  2. When should the actions/interventions be taken?
  3. How will they be carried out?
  4. With whom will they be carried out?




As of 19-May-2015

Day 1

May 20, Wednesday, Main Lounge, Manila Polo Club, Makati City


0800 Registration


0845 CNN Philippines video: “Bracing for the big one? Is Metro Manila quake ready?”

0850 Welcome Remarks – Amb. Roberto R. Romulo

0855 The New Normal: Science and Disaster Risk Management - Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin, S.J., Ateneo de Manila University 

0930 Risk Scenario: Hazards, Exposure and Vulnerabilities Mapping

Moderator: Dr. Eric Lacanlale, Former Director of Strategic Planning, UN Industrial Development Organization, Vienna, Austria

Discussion Leader: Ms. Toni Yulo- Loyzaga, Manila Observatory

i. Hazard Scenario and Exposure Mapping - Dr. Rene Solidum, Jr., PHIVOLCS

ii. Human Vulnerability in Metro Manila – Ms. Toni Yulo-Loyzaga 

iii. Risk Framework and Command Structure – Usec. Alexander Pama, NDRRMC-OCD

Open Forum


1030 Infrastructure

Moderator: Mr. Edgar Chua, Shell Philippines

Discussion Leader: Atty. Johnson Domingo, DPWH

i. Framework for Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration - Gen. Rodolfo Santiago, AFP Command and General Staff College

ii. AFP Framework for Disaster Response – Col. Benedict Arevalo, AFP

iii. Communications - Mr. Ramon Isberto, PLDT/Smart Communications 

iv. Fuel – Mr. Edgar Chua, Shell Philippines

v. Power 

a. Mr. Rolando Cagampan, Manila Electric Company 

b. Mr. Miguel Aboitiz, Aboitiz Power

Open Forum


1200 Lunch

1230-1245 Nepal Experience – Mr. Art Valdez, Energy Development Corporation

1245-1400 Local Governance Roundtable: Preparedness and Response Plans

Moderator: Mr. Ernesto Garilao, Zuellig Family Foundation

i. Hon. Herbert Bautista, Mayor of Quezon City

ii. Mr. Ritche Angeles, Chief, DRRMO, Pasig City Command Center

iii. Mr. Hector Reyes, Division Head, DRRMO, Makati City


Day 1

May 20, Wednesday


1400-1500 Concurrent Breakout Sessions 

Venue: McKinley Function Rooms and Main Lounge, Manila Polo Club

1. Basic Social Services

Moderator: Ms.  Aurora Francisco-Tolentino 

Discussion Leader: Assistant Secretary Vilma Cabrera, DSWD 

i. Food - Mr. Jose Victor Paterno, Philippine Seven Corporation 

ii. Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WaSH)

a. Engr. Francisco Arellano, Maynilad Water Services, Inc. 

b. Mr. Jommel Gomez, Manila Water Company

iii. Shelter – Gen. Charlie Holganza, Habitat for Humanity

iv. Emergency Health Services and Public Health – Dr. Marilyn Go,  Department of Health - Emergency Management Bureau

2. Search, Rescue and Recovery 

Moderator: Mr. Ramon Santiago, MMDA

Discussion Leader: Comm. Alexis Manuel, AFP

i. Civilian Evacuation - Mr. Jerich Chua, TxtFire Philippines Foundation and Eng Bee Tin Volunteer Fire Brigade

ii. Debris Clearing – Mr. Ramon Santiago, MMDA

iii. Cadaver recovery – Comm. Alexis Manuel, AFP

3. Peace and Order and Emergency Information Management

Moderator: Col. Lope Dagoy, Armed Forces of the Philippines

i. MMDA - Atty. Emerson Carlos

ii. PNP – PSupt Nicolas Salvador

iii. AFP –Gen. Apolinario Alobba, Joint Task Force NCR

iv. Private / New Media – Mr. Zak Yuson, Rappler  

4. Family and Community-based Social Protection

Moderator: Ms. Malu Erni, PDRF

Discussion Leader: Ms. Carmencita Abella, Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation

i. Urban Poor Support Organizations - Dr. Emma Porio, Ateneo de Manila University – Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology

ii. Microfinance/micro-credit institutions - Dr. Jaime Aristotle Alip, Center for Agriculture and Rural Development- Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD-MRI) 

iii. International NGOs – Ms. Jessica Dator-Bercilla, Christian Aid 

1500-1530 Working Break



1530-1700 Synthesis – Presentation of Outputs by Discussion Leaders

Moderator: Amb. Roberto R. Romulo

1. Basic Social Services 

2. Search Rescue and Recovery  

3. Peace and Order and Emergency Information Management 

4. Community-based Social Protection 

Summing Up and Next Steps - Dr. Eric Lacanlale

1700 Closing Remarks – Amb. Roberto R. Romulo


Day 2

May 21, Thursday, Taipan Restaurant, Tower Club, 33/F Philamlife Tower, Makati City


1230 Welcome Remarks - Amb. Roberto R. Romulo

1240-1250 Opening Remarks – Mr. Oscar Lopez, OML Center for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management Foundation

1250-1310 Presentation of Recommendations - Mr. Ernesto Garilao

1310-1400 Panel Discussion: Linking Disaster Risk Reduction to the Economy

Moderator: Amb. Roberto R. Romulo

i. Dr. Chung Sheng Lee, National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction

ii. APEC Emergency Preparedness Working Group – Usec. Alexander Pama, NDRRMC-OCD

Open Forum

1400-1500 Disaster Preparedness and the role of the Financial Services Sector

Moderator: Ms. Corazon de la Paz Bernardo, International Social Security Association

Main Discussants:

1. Commissioner Emmanuel Dooc, Insurance Commission

2. Deputy Governor Vicente Aquino, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas


i. BDO Universal Bank – Mr. Dennis Velasquez

iii Jardine Thompson Lloyd Limited - Mr. Craig Paterson

iv. National Reinsurance Corporation of the Philippines – Mr. Augusto Hidalgo

Open Forum

1500-1510 Concluding Remarks: Mr. Manuel V. Pangilinan, Co-Chair of PDRF