Statement of the Ateneo de Manila University regarding the West Valley Fault
This statement has been prepared to clarify misconceptions concerning the university’s structures with respect to the West Valley Fault.
On September 6 and 26, 2013, Ateneo de Manila University invited Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) Director Renato U. Solidum, Jr. to present to administrators, the results of a joint study conducted by Philippine government agencies and the Australian government. The report is called the Greater Metro Manila Area Risk Analysis Project, which indicated that a 7.2 magnitude earthquake, specifically in the West Valley Fault could cause severe damage to Metro Manila.
The study identified that the West Valley Fault runs from Rizal all the way to Calamba, Laguna. The University wishes to clarify that the school buildings are not sitting on the fault line. However, as explained by PHIVOLCS, all environs within five kilometers of the fault line are expected to experience much shaking in the event of a magnitude 7 earthquake.
In such an event, what matters is preparedness—a point emphasized by Mr Seiji Suwa, a survivor of the Kobe earthquake and an architect of the Disaster Mitigation Education in Japan. Mr Suwa was a recent guest at the Ateneo de Manila University, where he talked to teachers, administrators, and fellows of the Manila Observatory. According to him, preparedness translates to good building construction, scientific understanding of the possible event, a well-designed recovery program, and well-prepared citizens.
Thus, Ateneo de Manila University is preparing for such an eventuality. The buildings constructed from 2001 onwards have been designed to withstand more severe conditions. Moreover, all buildings [constructed before and even after 2001] are now being subjected to structural audit to ensure and/or confirm structural integrity and will be reinforced, if needed. More specialized guidelines and drills for different sectors and age levels are being prepared. Preparations for a recovery program, such as communication, relief, and support systems, are also underway.