Makati urges residents in danger zones to relocate

Citing the danger of living along the West Valley Fault, the city government of Makati on Wednesday urged residents in the danger zones to relocate immediately.

Makati Mayor Abby Binay conducted a dialog with residents of Barangay Rizal to raise awareness about the West Valley Fault.

She also warned those who are living within the five-meter easement on both sides of the fault, declared as ‘danger zones’, of the risks they face if they do not relocate.

Speaking before over 345 residents and officials of Rizal, Binay urged concerned residents to relocate for their own safety as seismologists say the fault is already ripe for movement and could cause a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Metro Manila.

The Makati Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) has organized a series of dialogs for Rizal and three other barangays transected by the fault line, as part of the city’s thrust of building resilient and sustainable communities.

“We cannot predict exactly when the earthquake will happen, but it is inevitable. Earthquakes are not like typhoons, which can easily be detected through weather instruments. Thus, we must not be complacent,” she said.

Currently, there are 99 lots in Rizal tagged within the danger zone, while Comembo has eight lots, Pembo has 93, and East Rembo, 113.

Binay said that although there will be no forced eviction for residents who refuse to relocate, they would be asked to sign a waiver stating that they accept the risks, and that they expect no assistance from the city government.

She also clarified that the city government will not purchase affected lots.

“Mas importante ang buhay kaysa materyal na bagay,” said the mayor in response to concerns about investments made by residents in building their homes.

On the other hand, those who will agree to relocate will receive financial assistance from the city government.

Binay said that since most lots are usually occupied by more than one family, financial aid will be computed on a per household basis.

The mayor said the lots that will be vacated will be cleared of the structures and will be converted into linear parks.

For residents not living within the danger zone, the city government has partnered with Build Change, a non-government organization that will help them in assessment and reinforcement of their house structures.

The assembly was also attended by Second District Representative Luis Campos, Jr. and other city officials, together with representatives from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

Jeffrey Perez, science research specialist of Phivolcs, advised residents to make their houses sturdy as he showed photographs of fault ruptures during the Luzon earthquake on July 16, 1990; Masbate earthquake on February 15, 2003; and the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in North Bohol on October 15, 2013.

Makati DRRMO head Richard Raymond Rodriguez said the WFV in Makati has an approximate length of almost three kilometers and transects four barangays in the city, and is expected to affect more than 400 households.

These are Comembo-0.16km; East Rembo-1.07kms; Pembo-0.82km; and Rizal-0.83km.

Last week, the dialog was held in Barangay Comembo where over 120 residents participated. The other two barangays scheduled next are Pembo on March 22 and East Rembo on March 29.

Meanwhile, the West Valley Fault Marker Installation Project, based on the Walk-the-Fault activity conducted by the city government and Phivolcs, will also be implemented soon in the four barangays.

The project aims to raise the awareness of residents and other stakeholders on the actual track of the WVF, based on the Walk-the-Fault activity jointly conducted by the Phivolcs and the city government.

The 155 identified areas for the markers and ‘mohons’ (concrete landmarks) in the four barangays are as follows: East Rembo (33 mohons and 27 markers); Comembo (three mohons and two markers); Pembo (34 mohons and 19 markers); and Rizal (20 mohons and 17 markers).