(Update) PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Wednesday assured the public that the government is on top of the situation following the 6.4 magnitude earthquake that jolted Abra and nearby provinces late Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters, the President said the government is focused on assisting affected individuals by providing them with food and temporary shelter.
Citing reports he received, families are asking for tents as they fear for their safety due to possible aftershocks following the strong quake.
The President said schools remain closed for the day to ensure the structural integrity of school buildings as well as children’s safety.
“We do not have a critical problem when it comes to food and shelter. That is the most important part of the relief that we have to provide now for the people affected by the earthquake last night,” Marcos said.
“Ang hinihingi ng karamihan ay tents. And the reason why is ayaw nila — natakot silang bumalik sa bahay nila baka mag-aftershock tapos mahina ‘yung bahay, baka masaktan sila (Many are requesting for tents because they are still afraid to go back to their homes due to aftershocks),” he added.
The President also assured the public that power supply has been restored in the affected areas.
“The other concern right now is to make sure that power has come back. ‘Yung Ilocos Norte, the power has come back. Ilocos Sur, the power has come back. I’m waiting for the report from Abra. I think parts, the last I heard, the last parts of Abra province have already had power restored,” he said.
In a Twitter post, the President asked the affected communities to “keep out of tall structures” and remain vigilant.
“As aftershocks continue, we remain in coordination with DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) for the inspection of roads and buildings, DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) for relief, DoE (Department of Energy) for outages and DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) for monitoring,” Marcos said.
“Everyone is advised to keep out of tall structures. Agridam ken agan-annadtayo, kakailian. Umaykamin a tumulong (Let’s stay alert and keep safe my countrymen. We are on our way to help you),” he added.
The quake shook parts of Abra, Cordillera, Ilocos Norte, and Ilocos Sur late Tuesday, prompting local governments in these areas to suspend classes on October 26 as they checked structures for physical damage.
Based on the agency’s earthquake bulletin, the epicenter of the quake was seven kilometers northwest of Lagayan town. The tectonic earthquake also had a depth of 11 kilometers.
10 injured in quake
The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) in Abra on Wednesday said that at least 10 persons were injured during the earthquake.
PDRRMO Officer in Charge Arnel Valdez said in a radio interview that some were injured by falling debris.
“So far, meron tayong anim na individuals na injured sa Lagayan, isa sa San Quintin, at tatlo po sa San Juan (So far, we have six injured individuals that were injured in Lagayan, one in San Quintin, and three in San Juan),” said Valdez in an interview.
Several churches and structures of municipal halls were also affected.
The old church in Lapaza had already been cordoned off.
At least two landslides were reported along Abra-Kalinga road, Abra-Ilocos Norte road as well as in Tubo, Abra.
There were also reports that several residents have camped out of their homes using the tents given to them by the provincial government.
Meanwhile, in Batac City, Ilocos Norte, a major hospital was reported to have sustained damage.
The Bureau of Fire Protection in Ilocos Norte showed on social media photos of how the section of the roof of the Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center fell down while an isolation intensive care unit was likewise damaged.
No one was hurt in the incident.
In Banna, also in Ilocos Norte, a rockslide was reported along the national highway.
While in Laoag City, near Batac, call center workers were caught on video hiding under their desks as computer monitors and the furniture were rocked. The lights went out later.
Blackouts due to the quake were also recorded in Sanchez Mira and Pamplona towns in Cagayan.
A house in Punta, Aparri and another in San Antonio, Aparri were partially damaged.
The NDRRMC report also said that two roads in Allacapan — one each in Labben and Centro East, showed cracks.
436 aftershocks recorded
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said that at least 436 aftershocks have been recorded.
Phivolcs said out of the figure, at least five were felt in the area as magnitude ranged from 1.4 to 4.8.
Dr. Teresito Bacolcol told The Manila Times during a phone conversation that more aftershocks are possible.
He said that it was normal to have many aftershocks but it will decrease in time.
On July 27, 2022, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit the same province which left almost a dozen fatalities and over 600 injured persons and billions of pesos worth in damage to infrastructure.
At 5:39 a.m. on Wednesday, another earthquake took place some 11kms north-east of Nueva Era, Ilocos Norte with a depth of 1km and was tectonic in origin.
Abra suspends classes
The province of Abra suspended classes and government work on Wednesday because of the impact of the earthquake.
“Due to the 6.7 magnitude earthquake where the municipality of Tineg was the epicenter, classes in all levels in both public and private schools, and work in all local and national government agencies/offices in the entire province of Abra are hereby suspended on October 26, 2022,” a memo from the provincial disaster risk reduction and management council chairman Dominic Valera wrote and posted on the province’s Facebook page.
The only exceptions in the suspension were the government agencies involved in emergency work.
Abra’s private agencies and companies were urged to take precautionary measures for the safety of their workers.
WITH REPORTS FROM ARLIE CALALO, VINCE JACOB VISAYA, ARIC JOHN CUA AND FRANCIS EARL CUETO
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