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Davao City, Philippines

So far so good

November 05, 2019 - Tuesday 4:11 AM by MDM

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Except for a few buildings of doubtful structural integrity, most of the buildings and infrastructures put up by the private and government sectors in Southern Mindanao passed their most crucial test so far in the form of a series of earthquakes averaging 6.5 magnitude in a span of two weeks.

In Davao City, the high rise buildings stood firm to indicate stable foundations and excellent locations.

Any fear of the ground liquefying when buildings keeled to one side as what the city of Dagupan experienced in the 1990 earthquakes did not happen.

The National Institute of Geological Sciences says liquefaction is “the process by which the ground, which is usually sandy in nature, turns into or starts behaving like a liquid and therefore loses its strength.”

Along the coastal communities, barangay officials did admirably well by ensuring that their constituents moved to evacuation centers in the aftermath of the earthquakes in organized manner.

Lyndon Ancajas, officer-in-charge of the Davao Risk Disaster and Management Office, praised the cooperation of coastal residents in evacuating promptly to authorized centers.

At the same time, he renewed his appeal to coastal residents to leave alone their vehicles during evacuation.

“They are to bring only what is necessary and not to evacuate with their properties,” he said.

Mayor Sara Duterte’s decision to cancel classes and work in offices provided a welcome respite to students and office workers. It also allowed authorities to take a second look at how school buildings fared during the series of earthquakes.

It must be blessing or luck that the earthquakes, while strong, were not as destructive as those that struck Mindanao in previous decades.

But no reason to let down one’s guard. As we underscored a number of times, Davao City particularly should be able to come up with a team of responders with just about the skills and training to cope with post-earthquake scenario. This need is most pressing when buildings actually collapse and when people are trapped, dead or alive, in the concrete jungle of ruins.