PNoy: Repair damage fast-A A +A
Thursday, October 17, 2013
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III yesterday ordered national government agencies to coordinate with local government units (LGUs) in Cebu and Bohol to speed up the repairs of infrastructure damaged by the earthquake.
He issued the order after he went around Metro Cebu to inspect the damage left behind by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Cebu and Bohol provinces on Oct. 15.
Among those the President inspected were the Basilica del Santo Nino, the Capitol building, the provincial legislative building, and the Mandaue City Public Market.
He had the structural integrity of the buildings checked.
Secretary Mar Roxas of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), who came with the President, will remain in Cebu until today to inspect damaged infrastructure.
That, as the death toll rose to 144 as of 5 p.m. yesterday.
In Pinamungajan town, Cebu, the police station reported two more casualties yesterday. They died in a stampede during the distribution of the government’s conditional cash transfer program in the town’s gym.
National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) spokesperson Major Rey Balido reported that as of 5 p.m. yesterday, 134 casualties were recorded in Bohol, nine in Cebu and one in Siquijor.
At least 259 were reported injured in Bohol and Cebu.
RDRRMC 7 noted 13 deaths and 89 injuries in Pinamungahan, Argao, Toledo City, Ronda, Talisay City, Cebu City, Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu. There were also 97 deaths and 166 injured persons in Bohol.
In a 15-minute briefing at the MIP Lounge of the Mactan Cebu International Airport, Aquino said his administration is committed to help Cebu and Bohol but he wants to know the extent of the damage.
Neil Sanchez, the Cebu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Council chief, briefed the President of the situation in Cebu.
President Aquino was accompanied by Gov. Hilario Davide III, Roxas, Cabinet secretary Rene Almendras, Rep. Raul Del Mar (Cebu City, north district) and former congressman Tomas Osmeña when their convoy arrived at 2:50 p.m.
Cebu authorities reported to Aquino that there are 6,329 families and more than 17,000 individuals who are affected by the earthquake.
As partial assistance, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Dinky Soliman said the Philippine Air Force and Philippine Coast Guard will transport 510 tents and food supplies from Manila to Cebu and Bohol.
Aquino also ordered Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson and the Department of Education (DepEd) to prioritize the structural integrity test of school buildings and repairs to ensure the safety of students and teachers.
Aquino asked his Cabinet members to check if the government can appropriate funds to repair school buildings even while the election ban is in effect.
In the same briefing, Lt. Gen. Roy Deveratorda, the commander of the Central Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), reported to Aquino that they tried to clean up the debris at the Basilica del Sto. Nino de Cebu but were stopped by the priests due to historical issues.
Aquino said that while there is a separation between the State and the church, the government may be allowed to provide funds for the rehabilitation of churches that are listed by the National Historical Commission as heritage sites.
In a press conference that followed the briefing, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas said the government will review how public buildings were built based on a government policy implemented starting 2010 that buildings be designed to withstand a 7.2
Likewise, Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Secretary Antonio Abaya said that both the Mactan Cebu International Airport and seaports in Cebu suffered minimal damage.
In Cebu City, the damage caused by the earthquake is estimated to have reached P331.68 million, the City’s Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (LDRRMC) reported.
LDRRMC operation officer Alvin Santillana said the amount covers the cost of the damaged infrastructure, as well as the cost of evacuating families from their homes and the evacuation of patients from hospitals.
It also covers the cost of the City Government’s deployment of ambulances and volunteers who responded to emergencies following the earthquake.
Santillana said a total of 50 structures have been damaged or destroyed by the earthquake.
These include schools, houses, establishments and barangay halls among others.
The cost of transferring patients of the Cebu City Medical Center and the Cebu Doctors Hospital outside their facilities is estimated to be P25.5 million.
In an interview yesterday, Santillana said that CCMC is expected to continue treating patients outside the hospital since the Department Engineering and Public Works recommended retrofitting works.
Santillana said the retrofitting works is expected to last for 45 days.
Yesterday, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama ordered CCMC chief Dr. Gloria Duterte to transfer the patients of CCMC to other hospitals in the city.
Rama also has mobilized the Cebu Contractors Association and other professional organizations to help check infrastructure all over the City, both private and public buildings.
The mayor also lamented that he has asked the National Government to help fund several projects, including the expansion of CCMC, but these were not accommodated.
Meanwhile, the Mandaue City Council yesterday placed the city under a state of calamity to be able to use the local government’s calamity funds.
The council, in its regular session, also adopted a resolution granting P50,000 to the family of 42-year-old vendor Jurinda Casul, who was killed after glass shards from the ceiling fell on her.
The City will also give P25,000 to Neri Abaya, who remains in critical condition, and P5,000 to all those who were injured in the public market.
Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes, in an interview with reporters, said the vendors will be temporarily accommodated in an open space at the old public market in Barangay Centro.
Vendors set up makeshift stalls outside the public market yesterday.
Cortes called on the Cebu Contractors’ Association to help provide structural engineers who can help the City inspect all buildings.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 17, 2013.