Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) together with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) and more government agencies conducted the Metro Manila Shake Drill on July 27.

The agencies gathered together at the MMDA headquarters in Makati and sounded all alarms for the earthquake drill at 4 in the morning. A text blast was also done, signifying all registered numbers of the drill. During the program, MMDA personnel were quick to duck, cover and hold—the recommended safety practice to do during an earthquake.

Briefing soon followed, with all the personnel demonstrating immediate response from concerned agencies: MMDA, NDRRMC, DILG, PHIVOLCS, Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), the local government units (LGUs) and representatives from private sectors.

The earthquake drill—dubbed as the #mmshakedrill initiated an evacuation plan in four quadrants where local government units should respond fast enough once calamity hits their area.

Mayor Vico Sotto led the risk response team in the first quadrant in Pasig.

Quezon City had Mayor Joy Belmonte guiding the personnel in the second quadrant in Ayala Technohub. The third quadrant situated in Manila had Mayor Isko Moreno leading the response.

In Pasay City, Imelda “Emi” Calixto Rubiano responded to the evacuation call in the fourth and final quadrant.

Michael Salalima, chief of the MMDA’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said that this evacuation drill aimed for people to understand how to prepare and respond once an earthquake—especially the ‘Big One’—hits Metro Manila.

He added that MMDA and all concerned agencies are evaluating the cities’ capabilities to respond.

“We are looking into the varied capabilities [of the local government units to respond and help] after different scenarios like fire incident, structure collapse, and high angle- rescue…not only in cities but also in the barangay level,” he said.

With the launch of Express Lane Operation (ELO) 2.0, Parañaque City has become the country’s first local government unit (LGU) that is “fully compliant” with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to streamline business permit processes.

Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez led the launch of Express Lane Operation 2.0 (ELO 2.0) last August 8. The project aims to simplify the process of applying for business and working permits by computerizing the system, reducing the steps from ten to four.

“This should boost our ongoing efforts to digitize and computerize all our systems, especially those involving applications for business and work permits, which will enhance investor confidence and improve service delivery,” Olivarez said.

Parañaque Business Permits and Licensing Office (BPLO) Head Melanie Malaya explained that the system also gathers the necessary requirements, such as work permit, health permit, and police clearance.

Afterwards, clients will be issued a Parañaque HELP card. This clearance identification card contains the aforementioned permits and clearances.

The Parañaque officials also presented the smart kiosks where people can print applications for permit renewal and statement of account, containing the quarterly business tax fee.

The City of Pasig led by Mayor Victor Ma. Regis “Vico” N. Sotto and Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Kristian R. Ablan signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the implementation of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Program in public libraries of the city.

The MOU states that FOI Philippines shall provide Pasig’s public libraries with information materials and collaterals, while the city government shall allocate computers to be utilized as FOI kiosks for the public.

“The FOI Philippines continues to strengthen its efforts in improving the public’s awareness on the implementation of the FOI Program to encourage more Filipinos to effectively exercise their right to access information in the pursuit of transparency in the public service,” said Ablan, FOI Philippines Program Director.

FOI Philippines’ eFOI Portal ( is an online portal for requesting information or documents from government offices. The eFOI Portal shall be used in public libraries to encourage Filipinos, especially those residing in the City of Pasig, to ask information from the government.

The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) will tap local government units (LGUs) as it initiates various poverty reduction programs.

MinDA Chairperson Manuel Piñol said that poverty needs to be addressed with “doable and practical programs” which can be “owned and implemented” by LGUs in Mindanao.

“Our target is to lift up these Mindanao provinces in the list of the poorest provinces of the country,” Piñol said.

Piñol said MinDa will address immediate concerns such as the plummeting price of paddy rice and low price of coconut products. He also noted the need for more roads for the production areas and fish ports.

“Investments will not come if we do not have the needed infrastructure,” he pointed out.

MinDA, through a position paper on the allocation of an equitable budget share for Mindanao, pointed out that public investment in infrastructure, economic growth, and ultimately, poverty reduction, come hand in hand in ushering sustainable development.

To catch up with the Duterte administration’s target of boosting the island’s economy by seven to eight percent, and reducing poverty to 20 percent by the year 2022, MinDA said it will continue to push for a Php1.35 trillion budget for Mindanao—to be utilized in the next three years.


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