Malls closed, sailing ban imposed in Cebu

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013


CEILING panels at the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) fell during the 7.2-magnitude earthquake yesterday, injuring four passengers.

As a precaution, airport officials used the MIP (Most Important Persons) Bldg. as check-in area for domestic flights and the Lufthansa hangar as arrival area and luggage retrieval.

MCIA public affairs manager Mary Ann Dimabayao said a team of inspectors observed several cracks in the terminal buildings but found no damage on the runway.

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The Cebu Coast Guard Station, meanwhile, prevented the departure of all vessels from Cebu City to various ports in the Visayas and Mindanao while verifying the integrity of ports of destination.

Power outages were experienced in the Visayas, although electricity was restored by noon in most areas, said Elmer Cruz, corporate communications officer of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP).

Major malls were closed and manufacturing firms at Mactan Economic Zone suspended operations.

Businesses

Still, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Lito Maderazo said the impact of the earthquake on business is “minor.”

Maderazo hopes businesses will resume operations today.

Dimabayao said that by noon, operations of both international and domestic arrival and departure areas were back to normal.

MCIA general manager Nigel Paul Villarete said the injuries were not serious and the passengers were discharged by government doctors after treatment.

Charles Lim, public relations consultant of Cebu Pacific, told Sun.Star Cebu in a text message that the airline suspended flights out of Cebu and Tagbilaran City, Bohol due to the earthquake. He said

flights to and from Cebu resumed around 11 a.m., but service between Manila and Bohol have been canceled due to the suspension of operations of the airport in Tagbilaran.

The Coast Guard lifted the sailing ban at 1 p.m. after receiving reports from different ports that their structures are still in good condition.

Boat trips to the Port of Tagbilaran City, which was damaged by earthquake, remained suspended.

Transmission

Azcuna advised persons who want to go to Bohol to take the Tubigon route as the port in that town is still in good condition despite the quake.

Cruz assured that the NGCP will assess transmission lines and other facilities affected by the earthquake. “All 138 kilovolt and 230 kilovolt lines in Visayas are in normal condition,” he said.

Other developments:

• The ceiling on the third floor of the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas collapsed. No one was hurt, though.

Deputy Ombudsman-Visayas Pelagio Apostol said he will order an assessment of the damage.

Cracks were also found at the Palace of Justice. A yellow line was placed at the front of the building to warn the public against passing by areas where debris might fall.

Security personnel awaited word from Executive Judge Soliver Peras whether or not court proceedings will resume today.

Mall

• After a preliminary inspection, Cebu Holdings Inc. reported there was no major damage in the Cebu Business Park and the Cebu I.T Park. But it did not open Ayala Center Cebu as a precaution, pending assessment of the mall.

• The Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP) said in a statement that the safety of employees is the priority.

“Several buildings have been safely evacuated immediately after the earthquake and are undergoing structural assessments for safety by the building owners and their engineers. Re-entry into the buildings will only commence once the buildings have been cleared,” said CCAP president Benedict Hernandez.

• Business chambers will meet today to assess the impact of the earthquake on Cebu business and on how they can extend help to the affected municipalities in Cebu and Bohol.

• Visayan Electric Company corporate communications manager Theresa Gonzales Sederiosa urged the public to call or text if a brownout occurs in their areas.

Classes

• The University of Cebu (UC) has suspended classes in all levels pending an inspection of all its buildings.

“Our number one concern is the safety of our students, faculties and employees. We will announce the resumption of classes once we are sure the buildings are safe,” said UC owner Augusto W. Go.

UC public relations consultant April Ramos said the university also postponed graduation activities of its campuses, which was supposed to be held today.

• The local governments of Tuburan, Consolacion, Sogod and Balamban ordered an inspection of all public buildings in their areas. No casualties were reported in the four towns.

Workers

• Philip Tan, president of the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said he is worried that some workers would lose jobs if their workplaces do not pass the structural test. “There might be companies that might not be able to open (after the incident),” he added.

He urged the Department of Labor and Employment to implement its social preparedness program, which includes providing temporary jobs for affected workers.

• Medical volunteers from the All-Terrain Medical and Rescue Organization went to Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) and conducted relief operations.

• Cebu Port Authority (CPA) general manager Edmund Tan reported to Transportation Secretary Antonio Abaya that engineers did not find any damage on Terminal 2 at Pier 3.

Cracks were found at the pavement of some ports, though, prompting the CPA to prevent heavy equipment and trucks from entering the facilities. The ports were later opened.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 16, 2013.

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