National earthquake drill to prepare for "Big One"

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 31) — Thousands across the country participated in the national earthquake drill, Friday.

Although disaster officers said the drill went well in Cebu, which served as the command center, they also noted there is still room for improvement.

Government officials said Cebu, as the second biggest city in terms of population and economic activity, needs to be prepared to reduce losses in case of a magnitude 7 earthquake.

Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) Undersecretary Renato Solidum said there are five active faults across the island of Cebu. There are also areas prone to landslides, as well as sink holes.

"(A)n earthquake can happen here simply because Negros and Bohol already moved and the fact that these two islands already squeezed or pushed towards Cebu," Solidum said. "Eventually, there will be some sort of pressure on Cebu that would probably be stored as energy and can be released as a strong earthquake later," he added.

In Metro Manila, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake is expected due to the presence of the 100-kilometer West Valley Fault, which traverses several cities and nearby provinces.

Office of Civil Defense chief Ricardo Jalad said local government units must also promote preparedness in the community-level.

"Do these communities have evacuation plans for tsunami and all?" Jalad said.

The same drill was conducted simultaneously in Metro Manila, Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental, Iloilo, and Davao, which will most likely be the next command center.

This is to involve all major cities in the Philippines, said Jalad, who is also the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council executive director.

CNN Philippines' correspondent Ivy Saunar contributed to this report.