MANILA (UPDATE) —The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) held its 5th metro-wide shake drill early Saturday to assess if the capital region is prepared for a temblor in case it strikes in the wee hours.
The drill began at 4 a.m. with a text blast and to the sound of sirens and alarms in Pasig and Marikina, two cities that are part of Metro Manila's eastern quadrant.
The drill was meant to test the response capabilities and preparedness of the government, private sector, non-government organizations and other stakeholders in the event of a strong earthquake, the MMDA said.
In Pasig City, rescuers rappelled from a 9-story building along with a patient on a stretcher.
Another descended from the same building with a pet in tow.
Rescuers also responded to a scenario where a man had to be extricated from a car crash.
Marikina City personnel staged their simulation drill near a mall where looting could happen right after a calamity.
Marikina rescuers also addressed scenarios where several people were hit by debris.
Response to similar post-earthquake scenarios were staged in Metro Manila's northern quadrant.
In Mandaluyong, rescuers used concrete cutters and jackhammers to rescue 50 people from a collapsed building, while the city's fire department addressed a burning establishment.
The Mandaluyong City Medical Center put up several field emergency rooms where potential victims could be treated.
Other cities are expected to conduct drills in their respective areas until noon, MMDA chief of staff Michael Salalima told DZMM radio.
"Sa next Metro Manila Shake Drill, ang mga regions po ay pupunta sa Metro Manila para malaman natin ang kanilang mga capability at 'yung response mechanism nila," he said.
(In the next Metro Manila Shake Drill, regions would go to Metro Manila so we can assess their capabilities and response mechanisms.)
The MMDA is expected to release its assessment of Metro Manila's disaster preparedness after all drills have been conducted.
As the quake drill was carried out in the metro, a series of earthquakes struck Batanes, killing at least 8 and injuring several others.
The quake, the strongest of which hit past 7 a.m. at a magnitude of 5.9, also damaged several houses.
In April, a 6.1-magnitude quake rattled Luzon, killing at least 16 people and causing major structural damage.
The Philippines sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of intense seismic activity that stretches from quake-prone Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.