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           The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) through the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) held a Simulation Exercise (SIMEX) for the Cabinet Secretaries and other Executives on 16 October 2019 at the NDRRM Operations Center in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

           The objective of the said exercise is to demonstrate the leadership and unified decision-making of national leaders after a major disaster. The scenario of the SIMEX focused on a magnitude 7.2 earthquake generated by the West Valley Fault that devastated Metro Manila, CALABARZON and Central Luzon. Based on the scenario, the alternate government command and control center was utilized as the emergency operations center situated in New Clark City, Tarlac. Moreover, the harmonized national contingency plan was activated.

           The top government officials provided necessary strategic actions taken on the aspects of life and safety and disaster response considering the massive impacts of the earthquake. The scenarios and injects were developed by the technical representative from the NDRRMC member agencies to prompt responses from key government offices specifically the lead agencies in response and disaster management.

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           This is a historic undertaking of the Philippines and the ASEAN region as the first simulation exercise involving top government officials as key players. This is relevant to the guidance of the President to strengthen collaboration among government agencies for disaster response.

           The activity was presided by Defense Secretary & NDRRMC Chairperson, Delfin N. Lorenzana and Civil Defense Administrator & NDRRMC Executive Director Usec Ricardo B. Jalad. Meanwhile, the exercise was evaluated by invited experts from the ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Center, the National Resilience Council and the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation. The evaluation will form part of the continuing capacity building program for top government officials in Disaster Risk Reduction and Management.

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           Among the participating agencies were the Secretaries from the DFA, DA, DPWH, DOLE, DND, DOH, OCS, DTI, DSWD, DAR, DENR, DILG, DOE, DICT, PCOO, OPAPP, TESDA, and MMDA and also joined by officials from the following agencies: DOJ, DOF, DepEd, DOT, DOTr, DOST, DBM, NSC, OCPLC & OPS, OSG, HUDCC, AFP, PNP, BFP, and PCG.

           The exercise also provided an avenue to identify areas to strengthen disaster preparedness, prevention and mitigation to which there's a need to enhance the policies, plans and programs. The NDRRMC through OCD will continue conducting exercises to test the capabilities and preparedness of the national government in responding to major disasters in the country and to instill collaboration in the holistic disaster risk reduction and management.