by Robie de Guzman | Posted on Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019
MANILA, Philippines — The number of fatalities following the strong earthquake that hit parts of Luzon on Monday afternoon has climbed to 16, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported on Tuesday, April 23.
Most of the people killed in the 6.1 magnitude quake were from the province of Pampanga, which was heavily hit by the powerful temblor.
Of the 16 reported deaths, 12 were from Porac, two from Lubao and one from Angeles in Pampanga. One fatality was also reported in San Marcelino, Zambales.
The NDRRMC also said that 81 people were injured and 14 remain missing.
The agency, however, stressed that the mentioned figures are still subject to further validation by authorities.
The strong quake, the epicenter of which was located in Castillejos, Zambales, also damaged a total of 29 structures and buildings.
The NDRRMC said a blue alert status has been raised since Monday and regional disaster offices have been ordered to assess their respective areas of responsibility.
The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), for its part, has deployed a 12-man team to help in the ongoing search, rescue and retrieval operations in affected areas.
The Bureau of Fire Protection, on the other hand, sent 155 of its personnel, along with its rescue and fire trucks, and ambulance to Pampanga to assist in the rescue mission.
The NDRRMC said backhoes, jack hammers, hydraulics and cranes are now being used to fast track the operation.
The Department of Social Welfare and Develolment (DSWD), for its part, has prepositioned 305,830 family food packs, and other food and non-food items. A standby fund amounting to more than P1.3 billion was also allocated for other needs.
The Department of Energy (DOE) also reported that measures have already been taken to ensure safety in local fuel refinery units. Generator sets and floodlights were also dispatched for the ongoing operations in Porac, Pampanga.
“As per DOE, Petron Corporation conducted protective tripping of some units of its refinery,” NDRRMC said.
“Also per NGCP (National Grid Corporation of the Philippines), Meralco dispatched 2 canter vehicles and 4 generator sets with 8 floodlights to Porac, Pampanga,” it added.
The quake also damaged parts of the Clark International Airport, resulting in the airport’s closure since Monday night.
The operations of Metro Manila’s main rail services were also suspended on Monday but operations have resumed since Tuesday morning. — Robie de Guzman
by Aileen Cerrudo | Posted on Tuesday, May 7th, 2019
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has laid out a contingency plan in case of an earthquake or any emergency during the election day on May 13.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) is tasked to make sure that no voters will be left inside the polling precinct in case of an earthquake; while the Board of Election Inspectors are tasked to secure the Vote Counting Machines (VCM) and ballots inside it.
“Ultimately the most important consideration here is the safety of the voting public. And we want to make sure that if there are voting precincts operating in those areas, that they should be safe and that they have not been damaged either by the primary quake or the aftershocks,” Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said.
He added, “If the VCMs cannot be taken out or the VCMs cannot be protected, then the school is locked down.”
The police is also under the instruction to secure the polling place.
For emergency cases like earthquakes and other calamities, Comelec will have to declare a failure of elections. However, this will depend on the severity of its effect in the country.
Meanwhile, Comelec has warned the public not to easily believe posts online such as the viral video that showed pre-shaded ballots.
Jimenez clarified that these ballots are fake, and he refuted the claim of the video uploader that the VCM will read votes detected by UV light.
“Iyong idea na mababasa ng makina iyong UV mark doon sa bilog sa tabi ng pangalan is wrong. Iyong ating scanner ay nagbabasa ng visible marks. Kailangan niyang makita iyong marka. Ang UV mark ay invisible. The fact that some names were supposedly had pre- shaded, pre- shading. Obviously political agenda ang nasa ilalim nito, (The idea that the machine will read UV marks in the circle is wrong. Our scanner reads visible marks. It needs to see the mark. UV marks are invisible. Obviously there is a political agenda under it),” he said.—(with reports from Aiko Miguel)
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