Disaster preparedness plans presented at AGS Parents Orientation
Ateneo de Manila University presented its Disaster Preparedness Primer/Program to parents of its Grade School (Grades 3 to 6) students at the annual Ateneo Grade School Parents’ Orientations held July 7 and 14, 2015 at the Henry Lee Irwin Theatre.
On behalf of various University units and offices more directly concerned with aspects of the preparedness plan and its implementation, Vice President for Social Development Atty. Jaime Hofileña laid out the actions being taken by the University’s towards attaining a “disaster-resilient Ateneo,” using the framework “A PrIMER” which stands for “Assess, Prepare, Implement, Monitor effects, Engage community, Recover.” The framework was adapted from a handbook by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).
Hofileña said that the Ateneo is in constant communication with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) due to the Loyola Heights campus’ proximity to the West Valley Fault. “Every so often we are given updates by PHIVOLCS,” he said.
The Ateneo Grade School buildings David Hall, Fermin Hall, and Pacquing Hall are the nearest to the fault line at distances of approximately 17 meters, 33 meters, and 22 meters, respectively. None of the buildings belonging to the University are actually on the fault line or within the Zone of Avoidance against ground rupture hazard.
Hofileña went on to say that Ateneo buildings built 2001 onwards were constructed with keen awareness of the need to anticipate effects of the West Valley Fault. Older buildings, meanwhile, have been subjected to structural inspection and assessment according to the 2010 standards of the National Structural Code of the Philippines (NSCP) for gravity, wind and earthquake loadings. David, Fermin, and Pacquing Halls also underwent core and lab testing in March 2014. Test results which came out in May 2015 pointed to a need to retrofit the buildings to make them consistent with the 2010 NSCP standards.
Hofileña also discussed disaster protocols to be implemented by the University Emergency Management Team. He said that preventive maintenance continues to be carried out for all facilities, and that faculty and staff members are undergoing skills training for disaster preparedness.
Also identified during the orientation were pick-up points for students, safety zones, and evacuation sites.
“It is important to us that all stakeholders, especially the parents, are made aware that your community here in the University is doing what it can to address the threat of emergencies in this day and age, climate change or not,” Hofileña said.