Photo shows a quake-damaged ‘Chocolate Hill,’ one of more than a thousand that dot Carmen town in Bohol. AP

MANILA, OCTOBER 21, 2013 (MANILA STANDARD) By Francisco Tuyay- THE authorities called off on Saturday the search for survivors of the 7.1earthquake that struck Bohol on Oct. 15 as the death toll hit at least 175, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

Church ruined. Church ruined. A soldier walks through the ruins of the historic Holy Cross Parish Church in Maribojoc town of Bohol on October 18. AFP NDRRMC Executive Director announced the end of the search for survivors as Interior and Local Government Sec. Mar Roxas admitted that relief operations in the devastated island province may have been affected by local politics.

“This is a time of disaster,” Roxas said in a press conference in Bohol on Saturday morning. “We are serious in delivering aid, in responding to the needs of our countrymen. Let us not mix politics into this.”

Roxas explained that they have received reports that some quake victims have not received any relief from the Department of Social Welfare and Development although the help had already been dispatched from Bohol’s capital of Tagbilaran City.

“We know how many food packs were dispatched by the DSWD from the capitol. We also know who received these at the municipal and barangay levels,” he said, adding that the DILG will exercise its supervisory powers on officials who are shown to be favoring residents in some areas over the others.

“It is not right to distribute the aid only to favored areas,” Roxas said, adding that some officials reasoned that many poor residents were also asking for help.

“We have so many countrymen who are poor. Let us help them all. But the earthquake victims should be the first to receive help from the national and local government,” he said.

Of the 175 that were reported dead on Saturday morning, the NDRRMC said 162 were from Bohol province, 12 from Cebu and one from Siquijor.

At least 487 were reported injured, including 393 in Bohol, 89 in Cebu, three in Siquijor, and one each in Iloilo and Negros Oriental. The NDRRMC said at least 17 were missing, all of them in Bohol.

“[But] the rescue operations have ended and instead we are now conducting recovery operations,” Del Rosario said.

Bohol governor Edgar Chatto told the news conference broadcast by Philippine radio stations that power had been restored on the island while major roads blocked by landslides had re-opened, speeding up the delivery of relief.

But government volcanologists recorded at least 1,846 aftershocks were recorded between Oct. 15 and 6 a.m. Saturday and many of the 22,004 families, or 108,917 people, who are staying in 90 evacuation centers are still afraid to go back to their damaged homes.

The NDRRMC said the quake affected 695,466 families or 3,492,496 people in 1,373 villages in 53 towns and eight cities in six provinces.

The island of about one million people, one of the country’s main tourist destinations, suffered landslides, fallen bridges, shattered roads and collapsed buildings in Tuesday’s quake.

Meanwhile, Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the DSWD was able to provide 10,310 food packs to Antequera, Calape, Carmen, Catigbian, Loon, Maribojoc, Panglao, San Isidro, Tagbilaran and Tubigon in Bohol.

The DSWD is also sending 1,000 family food packs to Tagbayan, Valte said.

A Philippine Air Force’s C-130 landed in Tagbilaran airport from Cebu bringing in relief goods and other non-food items such as tents that are needed for disaster relief, she said.

The Palace official also said the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) rescue team was able rescue 60 persons yesterday that include 10 senior citizens, three infants, 31 children including one critically injured in Tanauan and Loon in Bohol.

Albay has also dispatched its Team Albay rescue team to Bohol and Cebu to assist victims and provide financial aid amounting to P1 million.

The National Housing Authority on Saturday lamented that its office is running out of funds as they tried to resettlement of the families who lost their homes due to the earthquake that devastated the province, according to Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Binay said the NHA is trying to provide alternative housing to affected families or provide cement, wood, GI sheet and other home materials for those whose houses were partially damaged.

The NHA Board has earlier approved the increase of the P5,000 home materials assistance to P10,000 for earthquake survivors in Cebu and Bohol, and those in war-torn Zamboanga. With Sara D. Fabunan, PNA and AFP

More woes in quake zone By Florante S. Solmerin | Posted on October 18, 2013 at 12:02am | 776 views

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

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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