President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday visited earthquake-damaged Batanes province and alloted ₱40 million for the construction of a new hospital there.
At least eight people have been confirmed killed in the twin quakes which hit Itbayat town Saturday morning. One remains missing and 63 others were reported injured.
Duterte flew over Itbayat before leading a command conference in the capital Basco with Cabinet members, disaster relief officials and local government executives. During this briefing, the President ordered authorities to ensure food supply, according to a statement from Senator Bong Go.
“The President and Senator Go also provided cash assistance to the families of casualties and those injured,” the statement read.
Panelo said the national government has ordered all concerned departments to mobilize and render immediate assistance to those affected by the two earthquakes that struck the province on Saturday.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported that 2,963 people from five barangays of Itbayat municipality had to flee their homes and are now staying at the public market after the magnitude 5.4 and 5.9 earthquakes that rocked Batanes early Saturday morning.
Office of Civil Defense Asec. Casiano Monilla said evacuees will remain in tents temporarily while government personnel inspect and ensure the integrity of the structures in the area.
“Hindi naman natin macritique kung biglang mayroong malakas na tatama (tremors) and it’s very unsafe for them to stay sa kanilang mga bahay,” he said in a press briefing.
[Translation: We cannot critique if there will be strong tremors that will hit the area and it’s very unsafe for them to stay in their homes.]
He added that agencies have donated potable water, food packs, soap and medicines to the evacuees.
The epicenters of both quakes were located at shallow depths northeast of Itbayat, where the first earthquake was felt at intensity VI and the second one at intensity VII.
At least 15 houses, two schools and two health facilities were damaged in Itabayat, the country’s northernmost municipality.
Some 187 aftershocks, ranging from magnitude 2.2 to 5.9 have so far been recorded, disaster management officials said.