The provincial government held today an earthquake drill today to correct the mostly unsafe response of state employees here during the magnitude 6.9 quake that jolted Negros Oriental on Feb. 6, 2012.

Joy Gongob, provincial planning and development officer and executive officer of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) here, said that the council has noted how most of the government workers panicked and ignored the basic earthquake safety measures at the height of the quake.

“Most ran out of their offices without seeing to it that all electrical connections are switched off or unplugged to prevent fire. They were unmindful of the dangers that could have been waiting for them outside, too, like uprooted trees or fallen electrical posts,” said Gongob in an interview with Philippine Information Agency.

Some employees who were already outside the buildings, of which some are four-storey high, ran back inside to fetch belongings that they left behind, a reaction deemed dangerous and not recommended by earthquake experts.

“We saw how the employees lost their presence of mind during that earthquake and we don’t want that to happen again,” she said.

Around 200 state employees in the province gathered at the Lamberto Macias Sports Complex in Dumaguete City for the safety lectures given by local representatives from the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Philippine Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD).

In the afternoon, the employees trooped to the perimeter of the Capitol building where the mock-earthquake response drill took place.

Gov. Roel Degamo earlier issued a circular for all provincial government offices requiring at least 10 personnel from each office to attend the quake drill.

Gongob said the PDRRMC is eyeing to hold a fire safety drill in the following weeks.

Although the provincial government offices are equipped with fire extinguishers, she admits that most employees don’t know how to use them.

The February 6 earthquake that shook the province collapsed buildings and houses trapping people underneath, destroyed roads and bridges, and triggered a landslide in Guihulngan City. (RMN/PIA Negros Oriental)