While the damage brought by the 6.1 magnitude earthquake in Pampanga was not “devastating,” the incident still remains a “problem” for the government, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday, as he issued a “cease and desist” order against the operations of a collapsed supermarket in Porac, Pampanga.
He declared this in a situation briefing at the Provincial Capitol in San Fernando City after several Cabinet members reported assessments by their respective agencies and departments.
According to National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council Executive Director Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad, the recent earthquake killed 16 people and injured 86 others in Central Luzon.
Among the 16 casualties, one was reported from Angeles, one was reported from San Marcelino, Zambales, two died in Lubao, while 12 died in Porac due to the collapsed Supermarket in Porac town.
Jalad added there were still 14 people missing believed to be stuck in the rubble of the collapsed grocery store.
As the President asked for a “proximate cause” as to why the building collapsed, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said the building had problems with its structural integrity.
“This could be because of the structural design of the supermarket. It’s only good for the second floor, but it was actually constructed up to the fourth floor,” Año said.
“I will be issuing a memorandum circular to local government units that have Chuzon supermarket in their jurisdiction to temporarily suspend the business permit until we have pre-assessed the structural integrity of these supermarkets,” he said.
Aside from the collapsed Chuzon supermarket in Porac, the grocery also had structured three branches in the towns of Apalit, Santo Tomas, and Guagua.
The President then ordered a stop on the operations of the three other Chuzon branches, surmising that the one who constructed the collapsed grocery in Porac town was also the one who constructed the other three branches.
“Well, in all probability, the one who constructed the supermarket here could also be the one who constructed the others. I’d like to presume that,” the President said.
“So, it would be good at this time to just give them the advice to stop [and issue a] cease and desist [order] in doing business until such time that the clearance [is] given by the government,” he added.