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2nd district of Pampanga now under state of calamity

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019

The provincial board has placed the second district of Pampanga under state of calamity following the 6.1 magnitude earthquake on Monday (April 22).

The province’s second district covers towns of Porac, Floridablanca, Guagua, Sasmuan, Lubao, and Sta. Rita.

According to the statement of Vice Governor Dennis Pineda, presiding officer of the provincial board, declaring a state of calamity in the area will help in rebuilding the community after the strong earthquake.

Pineda has also recommended the temporarily closure of Chuzon Supermarket’s other branches in Pampanga for structural assessment.

This was after a Chuzon Supermarket located in a 4-storey building collapsed during Monday’s earthquake. Four were killed while eight were injured.

Rescuers continue to look for survivors still trapped in the rubble.

“We cannot account for all the more than 90 Chuzon workers. We have no information if they managed to run to safety or if they were trapped in the rubble. We advised the management to make the survivors or their relatives report their situation until a full accounting of people is done,” Pineda said. — Aileen Cerrudo

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Irrigation water in Bulacan, Pampanga from Angat Dam to last until May 16—NWRB

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Friday, May 3rd, 2019

Image of Angat Dam taken on May 2, 2019

The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) will stop allocating irrigation water from Angat Dam to Bulacan and Pampanga starting May 16 as water level drops below critical level.

The NWRB has begun reducing the allocation in the irrigation of the said provinces from 3,450 million liters per day to 2,590 million liters for the first two weeks of May.

READ: Water level in Angat dam declines further

NWRB Executive Director Sevillo David said the reduced allocation will not affect the said provinces because they are already close to harvest season.

“Sa tingin natin hindi makaka-apekto ito sa mga palayan diyan kasi nga po halos patapos na ang pagtatanim diyan at malapit na po mag-ani ang mga kababayan natin sa Bulacan at Pampanga kaya sa tingin natin hindi na ganun kalaki ang pangangailangan nila sa tubig sa panahon na ito, (We think this will not affect the crops in Bulacan and Pampanga because planting season is over and harvest season is near. We think their need for irrigation water supply will not be as much)” he said.

Meanwhile, the NWRB continues to monitor the water level in Angat Dam and will also continue to conduct cloud seeding to aid in the water supply.

“Masusi nating binabantayan ang kasalukuyang level at iyong mga development sa panahon kasi alam naman po natin na iyong pag-recover ng dam partikular ang Angat umaasa tayo sa mga pagulan, (We are carefully monitoring the water level and the development in the weather because the recovery of a dam, particularly in Angat [Dam] relies on rain)” according to David.

Water level in Angat Dam is currently in 177.5 meters from the 212 meters normal high water level.

The NWRB estimates that the water level will only reach as low as 173 meters before May ends.(with reports from Mon Jocson)

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PNP conducts probe on Chuzon Supermarket collapse in Porac

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, April 25th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) has started its investigation on the Chuzon Supermarket building in Porac, Pampanga that collapsed shortly after Monday’s magnitude 6.1 earthquake that hit several Luzon areas.

PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) region 3 chief Col. Cris Abrahano said they have started probing some of the documents obtained, including the floor and building plans and the list of Chuzon grocery employees in its Porac branch.

Abrahano said they will use these documents to help assess the structural integrity of Chuzon grocery and whether this was built using sub-standard materials. They will also probe if the building had complied with all the necessary requirements for construction.

Authorities are also planning to talk with several witnesses, building experts and concerned government agencies regarding thee investigation.

“Subject ng investigation natin ‘yun dahil kailangan natin ang tulong ng building official diyan at ng DPWH na siya namang naatasan na mag-enforce ng building code, so isa ‘yan sa subject ng investigation natin,” Abrahano said.

The PNP-CIDG’s investigation comes after the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) ordered an assessment of all Chuzon supermarket buildings’ structural integrity and the actual cause of the collapse of its branch in Porac.

The DPWH earlier said that although a private establishment, there is still a need to check on the cause of the structural failure as the building was constructed only four years ago.

A forensic investigation is also being conducted on the samples taken from the collapsed supermarket to determine the possible liability that may be faced by the owner of the supermarket.

“‘Yung kanilang explanation ang sinabi ay sub-standard materials, sinagot ni [DPWH] Sec. [Mark] Villar ‘yun e kahapon pero ang sabi nya ipapatawag muna yung may-ari para mag-shed light,” said Edgar Posadas, Director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (NDRRMC).

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier ordered the suspension of business operations of Chuzon stores to give way to the investigation.

READ: Duterte suspends business operations of Chuzon stores in Pampanga

At least 16 people were killed in Monday’s quake, based on data from the NDRRMC.

Five of the fatalities were from the collapsed grocery store, seven from different barangays in Porac, two from Lubao and one in Pampanga. One fatality was also reported in San Marcelino, Zambales.

The PNP-CIDG said they will complete the investigation as soon as possible in order to file the appropriate charges.

“As soon as possible at as soon as maayos din yun mga technical inspection kasama yung DPWH at mainterview natin yung mga witnessess at ma-check ang mga papel na binigay nila sa amin. Kung mayroong mga lapses na makita ay mabigyan kaagad ng hustisya yung mga biktima natin,” Abrahano said. – Robie de Guzman

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‘We still believe in miracles’— BFP on collapsed supermarket rescue ops

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 24th, 2019

It has been two days since a four-storey building in Porac, Pampanga collapsed during the 6.1 magnitude earthquake that jolted several parts of Luzon on Monday (April 22).

Rescue experts say that an individual’s chance of survival has no exact limit. Sometimes, they can last up to 24-hours. Their survival will depend on their physical capabilities, health, and age.

With this in mind, rescuers including the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Region III continue to search for survivors beneath the rubble of Chuzon Supermarket.

BFP Region III Director SSupt. Samuel Tadeo still hopes to rescue more survivors.

“We still believe in miracles. Baka lang po naman, pinipilit lang po natin (Just in case [there are still survivors], we’re doing everything we can). Panalangin nalang na sana wala nang naiwan sa loob (We pray that no one gets left behind),” he said.

Rescuers drilled holes into debris so that the air and light can enter the collapsed building, making it easier for them to locate survivors. They also used thermal scanners and K-9 dogs.

However, according to Philex Mining underground safety supervisor, Abel Juandagan, it might already be impossible to locate survivors given the state of the building.

The Philex Mining rescue team is among the responders who went under the collapsed building to look for survivors.

Reports say at least four bodies have been retrieved.—Aileen Cerrudo

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