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Rody to visit quake-hit Ormoc
Members of the Presidential Management Staff were said to have surveyed damaged areas in Kananga and Ormoc ahead of Duterte’s arrival. AFP, File
MANILA, Philippines - President Duterte is expected to visit Ormoc City tomorrow to assess the situation after a magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck Leyte province last Thursday.
Members of the Presidential Management Staff were said to have surveyed damaged areas in Kananga and Ormoc ahead of Duterte’s arrival.
Authorities have moved to bring back normalcy in Leyte areas hit by the quake as residents grappled with lack of electricity and relief assistance.
Some residents complained that businessmen had taken advantage of the blackouts to jack up prices of commodities.
Heavy rains have hampered relief operations in Ormoc and some donors decided to postpone distribution of goods. The relief operations are being done by civic society organizations in coordination with the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO).
Evacuation of the victims to safer areas continued after the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRM) finished assessment of government infrastructure that could safely house them. CDRRM officer Ciriaco Tolibao said they were prioritizing 34 families in Barangay Milagro who would have to be evacuated to a covered court.
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In Barangay Lake Danao, which is within a protected area, the affected residents have been evacuated to safer grounds but would have to bear with the cold and the rain with only tarpaulins to shelter them. The Shelter Box, a humanitarian organization that provides temporary shelters, is helping the residents put up their tents.
The CSWDO has documented 536 totally damaged houses and 62 partially damaged ones in the 12 affected villages consisting of Cabaon-an, Tongonan, Milagro, Danao, Cabintan, Gaas, Liberty, Bagong, Nueva Vista, Quezon Jr., San Jose and Hugpa.
The Office of the Civil Defense-8 said based on accounts, 220 people were injured due to the earthquake. Most of them, however, were hurt when they panicked and scampered to different directions at the height of the tremor.
OCD-8 regional director Edgar Posadas said those injured were brought to different hospitals in Ormoc and other district hospitals in Leyte. At least three persons were reported to have died – two from a building that collapsed in Kananga and one in Ormoc.
A local disaster official, Manuel Garduque, said the rescue and recovery operations team has temporarily stopped operations at the collapsed commercial building until there are claims of missing persons.
The President, through Presidential Assistant to the Visayas Michael Diño, sent 11.75 tons of relief goods to Ormoc. The goods arrived yesterday morning on board Navy vessel LC229 consisting of 11,300 bottles of water, biscuits, sardines, rice, even shampoo and bras. The shipment also included almost 10,000 liters of bulk water to supply Ormoc villages suffering from water shortage.
However, the promised generators for Ormoc’s water pumps have not arrive yet and would reportedly come in a separate shipment.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said P846 million in cash and P300,000 worth of food packs or a total of P1.146 billion had been readied for those affected by the earthquake.
The DSWD said these were on top of the P44.4 million worth of food packs already delivered to some of the victims and that another batch of relief goods would be delivered to 579 families in Ormoc.
The town of Kananga has been declared under a state of calamity due to the extent of damage caused by the earthquake.
Power is targeted to be restored in quake-affected areas in the Visayas in a week with restoration efforts going on 24/7, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, who led the inspection of power plant facilities, said.
The Ormoc Airport resumed full operations yesterday while shipping, banks and the courts were also functioning normally. Roads and bridges were also passable despite damages.
In Tacloban City, Department of Trade and Industry-8 regional director Cynthia Nierras warned businessmen against taking advantage of the earthquake victims.
Marichor Villacorte of Villacinco Subdivision and residents of Anibong district said necessities like solar flashlights and candles were overpriced.
For example, a solar flashlight – priced at P120 before the earthquake – is now being sold at P380. The price of candles also rose from P40 to P80. Improvised lamps are now available at P70, up from P35, and even hoarded by businessmen making supply scarce.
Cell phone charging costs P15 to P25. At gasoline stations, people queued up to buy gasoline for generators and vehicles, as well as kerosene for lamps, at higher prices.
Ma. Edna Legaspina, head of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) communications department, announced in a latest advisory that power might be transmitted to some parts of the region by tomorrow using the by-pass line of Tabango substation from Cebu-Leyte submarine cables – now the source of power in the towns of Tabango, Leyte, San Isidro, Villaba and Calubian, all in Leyte.
In a statement issued at 10 a.m. yesterday by the Energy Development Corp. (EDC) regarding the geothermal power in Kananga, the company said its power plants were still down while assessment of damage was ongoing.
Cusi, along with EDC president Richard Tantoco, conducted an aerial and ground inspection of the various power plants, including geothermal facilities that sustained damage from the tremors.
Cusi expressed hope that power would be fully restored within seven days with a combination of bypass and build-back-better strategies being implemented by the engineers.
Among the geothermal power plants inspected were the 180-megawatt (MW) Mahanagdong, 230-MW Malitbog, 120-MW Tongonan and 120-MW Upper Mahiao, all owned by EDC.
The power plants have seven other optimizing plants in their system with an additional generation capacity of 50 MW.
“We are still working to clear landslide debris. Barring any unforeseen issues, EDC could have about 317 MW of power restored to Leyte within the next 10 days,” it said.
As of 3 p.m. yesterday, the NGCP said the outage of power plants in Leyte may still cause customers in Cebu, Negros and Panay to experience occasional power interruptions.
Augmenting power supply in the Panay area are the plants of Panay Energy Development Corp. and Palm Concepcion Power Corp. which went back online and have been synchronized to the grid after shutting down earlier in the day.
Meanwhile, power generation from solar plants in the region may be able to produce sufficient supply during the daytime, NGCP said.
It’s business as usual for banks to serve the needs of clients in eastern and central Visayas affected by the earthquake.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. said banks are evaluating the impact of the earthquake on their operations in the Visayas.
Meanwhile, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines spokesman Eric Apolonio said the Ormoc Airport is back to normal and all turbo aircraft could land and take off after the Department of Transportation completed its inspection and repair.
He also said the terminal was also opened after paintings of displaced threshold markings to warn aircraft of the damaged portions of the runway was completed.
Apolonio said on Friday the airport had sustained damage at the end of runways 36 and 18 and its airport operation was temporarily suspended to allow aviation authorities to repair the runway cracks.
Court Administrator Midas Marquez said all of the court judges and staff were accounted for but the problem is that they have no electrical power in their courtrooms. – With Danessa Rivera, Janvic Mateo, Rudy Santos, Lawrence Agcaoili, Evelyn Macairan