Government admits difficulty in bringing assistance to Batanes calamity victims

Maris Federez   •   July 30, 2019   •   2603

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

Navy confirms BRP Ramon Alcaraz fire

Maris Federez   •   May 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines— The Philippine Navy has confirmed the fire incident that took place onboard BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS16) on Thursday night (May 7) just a few hours after it departed Port of Cochin, India bound for Manila.

In a statement issued on Friday, the Navy said the vessel was in convoy with BRP Davao del Sur (LD602).

Naval Public Affairs Office Acting Director, LCdr. Maria Christina Roxas, said initial investigation showed that the fire that broke at the main engine room was put out in 10 minutes but injured two personnel with second degree burns and caused minor damage in some equipment.

“This unfortunate incident could have been worse if not for the promptness of our PN personnel in responding to the fire incident. We recognize the gallant efforts of our personnel in responding to the emergency situation in spite of the dangers involved. Rest assured that the safety and welfare of our personnel is of paramount importance,” Roxas added.

One of the two sailors who were injured in the fire is now receiving treatment in an Indian medical facility, while the other is in sickbay aboard the vessel.

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana, in a statement released on Saturday, said the vessel has returned to Cochin, India, reaching the port under its own power and unassisted as it only sustained minor damage.

He added that the US Navy’s Naval Systems Command (NAVSEA) will assist in the repair of the BRP Alcaraz since the vessel was acquired from the US.

“We will also use existing diplomatic mechanisms and our defense cooperation agreement with India to facilitate and expedite work on the ship so that it can return to the country in the shortest time possible,” Lorenzana concluded. —/mbmf

Batanes gov’t implements temporary travel restriction from March 16-April 16

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 13, 2020

The Batanes government has implemented a temporary travel restriction to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Acting Provincial Governor Ignacio Villa said travel to the province of Batanes will be restricted. However, the travel restriction will not cover persons who are residents of Batanes Province or who are employed in the province and its constituent municipalities.

Also exempted from the travel restrictions are persons “who require entry to the province to fulfill a law obligation or address an urgent issue of national interest: provided that such persons must not come from areas with documented local transmission of COVID-19.”

The travel restrictions would also require persons to present their documents of residency if they wish to enter the province.—AAC

9 dead in Turkey after earthquake hits Iran border area

UNTV News   •   February 24, 2020


Nine people died and hundreds of buildings collapsed in southeastern Turkey on Sunday (February 23) after a magnitude-5.7 earthquake struck near the border with Iran, injuring dozens in villages and towns in both countries, government officials said.

Three of those killed were children and 37 Turks were injured, including nine critically, Turkey’s health ministry said.

The shallow tremor caused more than 1,000 buildings to collapse in Turkey, prompting a brief rescue effort to find those trapped under rubble.

The quake damaged buildings some 90 km (56 miles) to the west in the Turkish city of Van, and to the east in dozens of villages in Iran, where state TV said 75 people were injured including six in hospital, though there were no fatalities.

Crisscrossed by major fault lines, Iran and Turkey are among the most earthquake-prone countries in the world.—Yesim Dikmen via Reuters Connect


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