Government admits difficulty in bringing assistance to Batanes calamity victims

Maris Federez   •   July 30, 2019   •   1716

More family food packs and relief goods arrived in Batanes on Sunday (July 28) to augment for the on-going relief operation for those affected by the earthquake in the province. (DSWD Region II)

The Department of National Defense (DND) admitted that the government is having difficulty in reaching out to the earthquake victims in Batanes.

DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that aside from the distance, they lack the necessary transport facilities, such as choppers or C-130s, to bring assistance to the town of Itbayat.

“It’s so far away, the nearest chopper is from Tuguegarao, Cagayan. Siguro iyan iyong challenge natin [Maybe our challenge is] how to get there and to attend to the injured and maybe recover or retrieve some of those natabunan [buried alive],” he said.

Basco Airport also could not accommodate large airplanes that are supposed to transport big volumes of medical and other supplies because its runway is only 800 meters.

“We are using Airforce C130 to go from Clark and Manila to Basco. And then from Basco, we load it on boats. And (it’s) three hours iyon by boat,” said Rene Meily, President of Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation.

The Office of Civil Defense said the government has sufficient supply of food, water, and other necessities, with the help of several civic groups.

They are looking forward, though, to the time when the runway will be longer for better delivery of services.

OCD Deputy Administrator for Operations Asec Casiano Monilla said, “Ang sinasabi natin na operations na will take time, of course, iyong sabi nga ng DOTr [The operations that will take time, of course, is what the DOTR was saying, that] they are looking on improving the airports, the airstrip para maka accommodate ng mas malaking [to accommodate larger] aircraft. And siguro tinitingnan natin iyong magkaroon ng breakwater ang Itbayat [We are also looking into building a breakwater in Itbayat].” (with reports from Mai Bermudez) /mbmf

Magnitude 5.4 quake rattles Davao Occidental

Robie de Guzman   •   February 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A magnitude 5.4 earthquake rattled parts of Davao Occidental on Thursday afternoon, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reported.

In its bulletin, Phivolcs said the epicenter of the quake that struck around 5:54 p.m. was traced 35 kilometers southeast of Jose Abad Santos in Davao Occidental.

It had a depth of 190 kilometers and tectonic in origin.

The tremor was felt at intensity III in General Santos City, Tupi and Polomolok in South Cotabato, and Alabel, Saranggani; intensity II in Maasin and Malapatan, Sarangani, and Davao City, while intensity I was felt in Tampakan, South Cotabato.

Phivolcs said there was no reported damage but aftershocks should be expected.

Danger remains as volcanic activities increase in Taal

Marje Pelayo   •   January 20, 2020

Aerial photos Taal Volcano eruption aftermath epa08135676 Handout aerial photo provided by the Office of Civil Defense shows the Taal Volcano crater in Batangas province, south of Manila, Philippines, 17 January 2020. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) has kept the alert level at four, following the volcano’s eruption on 12 January 2020. EPA-EFE/OFFICE OF CIVIL DEFENSE HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

MANILA, Philippines – Over a week since Taal Volcano began its eruptive activity, danger still remains according to experts.

In fact, a total of 787 earthquakes have been recorded in the volcano island on Saturday (January 18) alone, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).

This frequency of ground shaking is double the number of all volcanic earthquakes recorded in the previous six days of Taal’s volcanic activity.

Over the weekend, more than 200 tremors were recorded within the range of magnitude 1.2 and 4.1, the PHIVOLCS said and on Sunday evening (January 19), the strongest shaking – magnitude 4.2 earthquake – was felt in Mabini, Batangas.

The volcano institute have also observed that Taal is producing about one-kilometer high white ash pillar and sulfur dioxide of around 1,442 tons each day.

Because of these observations, PHIVOLCS cannot just lift or downgrade Alert Level 4 that is currently in effect around the volcano island because the possibility of a massive explosive eruption remains high within hours or days.

Thus, PHIVOLCS strongly appeals for understanding and more patience from residents and reminds them not to return yet to their villages especially those within the 14-km danger zone.

Volcanic earthquakes recorded in Taal:

  • January 19 – 787
  • January 18 – 366
  • January 17 – 65
  • January 16 – 103
  • January 15 – 159
  • January 14 – 49
  • January 13 – 52

Source: PHIVOLCS

Patients stay in gym after magnitude 5.9 earthquake damages hospital in Bukidnon

Marje Pelayo   •   November 22, 2019

BUKIDNON, Philippines — Around 20 patients of Simbulan Hospital remain in a gymnasium in the municipality of Don Carlos because cracks from Monday’s (November 18) magnitude 5.9 earthquake has posed threats to their safety.

According to Councilor Keith Anthony Kotico, the gymnasium is the safest for the patients based on the structural assessment of the local government unit (LGU).

“Prior to evacuation, this has already been pointed as an evacuation area it was already assessed,” Kotico said.

Patients were ill at ease due to fear that the hospital walls might collapse at any moment.

“Kasi gumagalaw na talaga ang dingding (The walls were moving ),” observed Boy Palingcod whose sibling is a patient at Simbulan Hospital.

The Bukidnon Provincial Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) is doing rounds in other areas hit by the earthquake to assess the damages.

Personnel from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Likewise, join the assessment to address the needs of the affected residents. MNP (with details from Weng Fernandez)

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