Staying ready in Manila

In the wake of destruction and natural calamities, how do you respond to thousands of people who will be in need of assistance? This is a question that Ramon Santiago, Secretariat Head of the Metro Manila Shake Drill, continuously tries to find answers to. Santiago said a commonly overlooked resource in disaster response is dogs. So every Sunday, around 46 mongrels and purebreds of all sizes are put through their paces by volunteer trainers at a facility in suburban Manila where they learn to find people, scale ladders, and bound over wooden structures. Philippine disaster agencies already have search and rescue dogs that are deployed when disasters strike the archipelago nation. But there are concerns that there might not be enough of them if a major earthquake were to hit the sprawling metropolis of Manila. Hazel, who was a skinny street mutt before she was adopted by her owner Nathalia Chua, lacks the pedigree of some of her classmates. But she shows plenty of enthusiasm as she follows instructions to search rubble, overturned water drums and small wooden huts. The three-year-old barks and wags her tail when she finds a person hiding in a drum, drawing cheers from trainers and back rubs from Chua.

“My end goal with Hazel is just to be as prepared as possible if the ‘big one’ comes,” Chua told AFP, referring to a major earthquake seismologists predict could strike the city one day. Manila is vulnerable to quakes due to its location on the West Valley Fault and its proximity to the Manila Trench off the main island of Luzon. Seismologists believe the movement of either one could trigger a major earthquake in the city of more than 13 million people that could kill tens of thousands. The MMDA K-9 Corps volunteer group has trained around 700 pet dogs since it began the program in 2016. It aims to train at least 3,400 pet dogs in search and rescue across the city.

“We all know that for the ‘big one’… we really need to be prepared,” said trainer Katrina Florece, at the training facility owned by the government’s Metropolitan Manila Development Authority. Hazel was malnourished and fearful when Chua found her in 2021 during a family holiday on the western island of Palawan. The search and rescue training has helped her become calmer and more confident. “She loves it,” Chua said. “I think even if the dog doesn’t end up enjoying search and rescue, joining this is a great opportunity to learn and bond with your dog.”

Rescue reasoning

It’s a great time to live in California,
Because all the giant tsunamis caused by the giant earthquakes can put out the giant fires.

Liam Neeson will star in a new thriller where he rescues the wrong woman
the film will be titled “Mistaken.”

The safest place to be during an earthquake would be in a stationary store.

Two sailors were adrift on a raft of planks from their sunken ship. They were sunburned, hungry and tired and had given up hope of rescue. One got on his knees and began to shout a prayer. “Oh Lord, I have been worthless in my life. I have been unkind to my wife. I have abandoned my children and lived sinfully, but If you will save me, I promise…” Just then the other sailor shouted, “Hold it, I think I see land.”  

April 18th Birthdays

1988 –  Kayleigh McEnany, 1990 – Britt Robertson, 1946 – Hayley Mills, 1921 – Barbara Hale,

1954 – Rick Moranis,  1963 – Conan O’ Brien, 1947 – James Woods, 1984 – Miguel Cabrera

Morning Motivator: