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A shaking experience

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Condo living has its advantages and disadvantages, especially if the flat you’re in is located within Makati’s Central Business District (CBD).

Fil C. Sionil

Fil C. Sionil

There’s inconvenience in living in high-rise building, particularly when earthquake strikes. Although, residents undertake an annual earthquake preparedness drill. After the recent 6.1-magnitude earthquake, sirens sounded in the buildings surrounding Makati CBD. While the protocol is to wait for the building marshals for guidance and assistance, it was surprising to see that among the first persons to get out of the building to an open area were the expatriates. On cue, residents slowly came out of the buildings, stayed out until it was safe for them to go back.

Even if it was nowhere close to the 1990 tremor that struck the country with Nueva Ecija as the epicenter and the summer capital Baguio heavily damaged with buildings collapsing, Monday’s earthquake was a wake-up call.

The yearly exercise was put to good use. It’s not only the regular drill exercise that is necessary but residents and workforce must have what Kler Batino, the breaking news editor of Bloomberg for Asia-Pacific, calls a “go bag,” that contains essentials for one to get by during such event.

Being a journalist has its work hazards. “Our guard was telling us to get out of the bureau, my shout out was ‘Wait!’… am still sending the story on the temblor,” recalled Ms. Kler. Bloomberg’s Manila office is at the 11th floor of Tower One on the main thoroughfare of Ayala Avenue. Getting out of their office, each of the staff were given a “Go Bag,” which Ms. Kler showed us, consisting of a hard hat, disposable raincoat, facial mask, and power bank cum flashlight.

It’s a good idea, though, from my view point, I believe items such as whistle; a bottle of water; first-aid kit, with of maintenance medicines; and food like beef jerky and biscuits as well as copies of important documents and some money must be added into the go bag.

Jonas Ravelas, chief analyst of BDO Universal Bank, holds office on a much higher floor – the 18th. “I was just preparing to leave when the tremor struck. Our building swayed for more than a minute. After 30 seconds, I did the duck, cover and hold,” he said.

I specifically sought out Mr. Jonas knowing beforehand that he was scheduled to fly to Taipei yesterday for a non-deal roadshow, pitching for Clark and Subic to prospective investors and corporate clients. Clark Terminal, as has been reported, was severely damaged, that requires repair amounting to P30 million. Indeed, such timing!

Force majeure. Instead of being skeptical and taking the defeatist stance, Mr. Jonas is turning the disaster into good fortune and an opportunity. “I am providing a backdrop that we are build on a resilient future,” he said.

On a positive note, I heard from the market place that former Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando M. Tetangco now sits in the board of Toyota Philippines. He subsequently confirmed the latest development in his career nearly three years after his retirement. Congrats!

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