Heavy rain, landslides add misery to victims
Three days after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake brought death and destruction to the provinces of Bohol, Cebu and other parts of Visayas and Mindanao, heavy rain and landslides have added to the misery and despair of the quake victims.
As this developed, the death toll had climbed to 163, 151 in Bohol alone and 375 were injured with 21 still missing, according to officials of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
Aftermath. Vice President Jejomar Binay is shown in Cebu visiting a makeshift hospital on Thursday following the damage wrought by an Intensity 7.2 earthquake that hit Cebu City and Bohol on Oct. 15 and killed 163 people and hurt many more.
Meanwhile, the Palace said that it would use the much-maligned Disbursement Acceleration Program or DAP to help the victims get back on their feet.
Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the government has sufficient funds to address the needs of the affected residents.
“We have enough savings. You may call it DAP. Because of the savings we are able to respond immediately. All funds are fully and prudently used,” he said.
In a related development, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said that a newly discovered fault may have been the source of deadly earthquake.
Seismologist Ishmael Narag said that upon closer examination of their data, they learned that the quake’s real epicenter is located between the municipality of Catigbian and Sagbayan in Bohol and not in the town of Carmen as earlier reported.
The second epicenter is located near several towns in Bohol which had been the most severely affected by the earthquake.
Meanwhile, the weather bureau reported that the entire country, including the Visayas, will experience moderate to heavy rain due to an inter-tropical convergence zone, which has added to the worries of the resi-dents of the quake-affected areas.
“Aside from the debris of buildings, we’re concerned pati sa landslide. Ito ‘yung major causes ng deaths. Meron tayong landslides ngayon na na-trigger ng mallalakas na bagsak ng ulan. Bukod pa ‘yan aftershocks that we experience pa until now,” Bohol provincial information officer Tootsie Escobia said in a phone interview.
She said that the towns of Maribojoc, Loon and Tubigon, which were the worst-hit by the quake, continue to suffer because the delivery of relief goods intended for their residents is being hampered by impassable roads and bridges destroyed by the quake.
A handout photo taken by the Air Force on Thursday shows and aerial shot of the destroyed church iln the town of Loon in Bohol. AFP
To get to the victims, rescue workers used boats and helicopters to help the thousands of isolated survivors in Loon. The helicopters were used to evacuate some of the injured as well as resupply the isolated towns with emergency food rations.
The search for 21 missing people had been narrowed down to the coastal town of Loon and neighboring Antequera.
The NDRMMC added that at least 3.4 million people or 676,065 families were affected. The Department of Social Welfare and Development said it is currently serving 32,941 families inside 85 evacuation centers.
Also, at least 19,309 houses were partially or totally damaged: 2,926 partially damaged and 15,574 totally damaged in Bohol and 12 partially damaged and 797 totally damaged in Cebu.
The NDRRMC said the medical situation in the province has worsened with the lack of medical attention to patients in affected towns.
It said that at least 60 patients are at risk of dying if not given immediate medical attention.
Food, water, medicine and other medical supplies are also running out.
“We are doing our best to reach and help them,” Escobia said.
Aftershocks continue to strike fear among the Boholanos.
Escobia said several areas remained without electricity, although authorities had earlier made an assurance that the power will be fully restored by Saturday.
Escobia said the roads and main thoroughfares of Tagbilaran City had already been cleared of debris.
Families whose houses were destroyed opted to stay in tents they set up in open areas.
Escobia said the tents were needed because of the intermittent rains.
Meanwhile, the Pag-IBIG Fund has allocated P4.5 billion for calamity loans at 5.95 percent annual interest payable in two years, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay said.
Binay, who visited Cebu and Bohol Thursday, urged Pag-IBIG members affected by the earthquake and other disasters to take advantage of the Fund’s programs.
Binay also reminded Pag-IBIG borrowers that the Fund could help them get insurance if the unit subject of their respective loans is covered by earthquake, typhoon and allied peril insurance.
Members may file their claim at the nearest Pag-IBIG branch.
He said that the National Housing Authority would provide P5,000 worth of home materials for residents whose houses were partially damaged.
In the House, Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza, of the Third Force headed by Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, said filed House Resolution 385 asking President Aquino to immediately release P1 billion to Bohol and P500 million to Cebu for the rehabilitation of roads and bridges, as well as historical structures.
“We filed this resolution to emphasize the fact that savings cannot be used for whatever purpose unless authorized by Congress,” Atienza’s resolution read.
But Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano said that not all rehabilitation of infrastructure projects could be sourced from government savings, such as churches, “unless declared to be historical heritage.”
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., meanwhile, vowed to extend all the necessary assistance to augment the government efforts in helping the earthquake victims.
Meanwhile, the Senate said it would allocate P6 million savings from the Senate budget to assist in relief operations for the quake victims.
Senate President Franklin Drilon said the amount will be transferred to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) by next week.
He said it is DSWD which will decide which areas will need most the budget that would come from the Senate savings.
At least two neophyte senators, Bam Aquino and Grace Poe, vouched for the establishment of a P15-billion and P10-billion rehabilitation fund for the earthquake victims.
Meanwhile, Philippine Medical Association (PMA) President Dr. Leo Olarte said they have mobilized their local chapters in Central Visayas to respond to the emergency and disaster needs particularly of the people of Cebu and Bohol.
He said medical teams from various PMA Component and Specialty Societies in the Visayas were activated to support existing government operations in the area.With Macon Ramos-Araneta, PNA and AFP