P750 MILLION NEEDED TO QUAKE REHAB / BELFRY OF BACLAYON CHURCH NOW SILENT, FORLORN



Church ruined. A soldier walks through the ruins of the historic Holy Cross Parish Church in Maribojoc town of Bohol on October 18. AFP

MANILA, OCTOBER 21, 2013 (MANILA MANILA BULLETIN) by WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL REPORTER - THE government will need at least P750 million to repair and rebuild public infrastructure damaged by the powerful earthquake that shook Central Visayas last week, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

The 7.5 temblor destroyed roads, bridges, buildings and private property worth at least P2.5 billion, the disaster agency said, noting that the figure was a conservative estimate.

NDRRMC Executive Director Eduardo del Rosario on Sunday said at least P750 million will be needed for infrastructure alone, based on the initial assessment of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The NDRRMC placed damage to infrastructure in Bohol, the hardest hit province, at P655 million, P96 million in Cebu, P7.3 million in Siquijor and P250,000 in Negros Oriental.

Del Rosario said the residents also suffered substantial losses.

“With regards to damaged private houses it will be substantial also because thousands were damaged,” he said.

Of the 8,480 houses that were destroyed, 8,464 were in Bohol.

If damage to each house was placed at P50,000, del Rosario said the total will reach P1.79 billion.

“So we can just imagine the magnitude of the damage to the private sector and this is the main reason why the displaced persons need tarpaulins, family tents because they are sleeping outside,” he said.

The earthquake affected 703,244 families or 3,542,281 persons in Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor, Negros Oriental, Iloilo and Guimaras

As of early yesterday, 185 bodies have been recovered and nine persons are missing.

Del Rosario said another challenge facing officials is bringing relief goods to villages where roads remain impassable.
“The way I’ve seen it, in the last two days that I was there, the relief supplies are adequate. The problem is the distribution to remote barangays after they were turned over to the local government units,” he added.
He said the Air Force will fly relief supplies to hard-to-reach areas.

The government will also give P10,000 in assistance to the families of those who died and P5,000 for the injured starting on Tuesday.

The money, he said, will be handed out by the Office of Civil Defense, where del Rosario also sits as chairman, upon presentation of a death certificate or a certificate of confinement.

Malacañang also announced on Sunday that the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) will cover all the hospital expenses of quake victims.

Presidential deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said PhilHealth will cover for the hospitalization and outpatient surgical treatment and procedures to the victims.

Valte said relief operations are continuing with the distribution of food and non-food relief goods worth P8.05 million to the victims.

The DSWD, she said, is coordinating with the local government units especially those in isolated areas delivering relief goods.

“The relief operations will continue until normalcy returns to all towns in Bohol and Cebu,” Valte said.

She said 55,769 families, or 257,268 people staying in evacuation centers in Bohol and Cebu are being served.

The rescue team sent by Vice President Jejomar Binay to Loboc dug up two bodies in Barangay Villaflor.

Binay said the team also checked a dam that sustained quake damage.

“The rescue team will assess the integrity of the dam and see if people living within its vicinity need to evacuate. We don’t want to take chances. We want to ensure they are safe,” he said.

A team from Makati City, together with personnel from the Manila Water and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, is producing 2,000 liters of potable water per hour for the victims through Makati’s water filtration system. WITH REPORTS FROM CATHERINE S. VALENTE AND RITCHIE A. HORARIO

FROM THE INQUIRER

Rescuers end search, focus on retrieval, relief work By Nikko Dizon, Michael Lim Ubac Philippine Daily Inquirer 2:14 am | Sunday, October 20th, 2013


SILENCED The old bell of Baclayon Church hangs forlornly and precariously on the side of the broken belfry in this photo taken on Friday. It reminds us of the interconnectedness of humanity explored by the great English poet John Donne in his piece “For Whom The Bell Tolls” from “Meditation 17” of “Devotions upon Emergent Occasions”. MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

Rescuers on Saturday called off the search for survivors of the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck Central Visayas on Tuesday, killing at least 180 people and displacing nearly 400,000 others.

“The rescue operations have ended and instead we are now conducting recovery operations,” said Eduardo del Rosario, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

“We are still looking for 12 others. Our responders are now on site to recover their bodies,” Del Rosario told a news conference.

Del Rosario said the council decided to end the search for survivors after a consultation with rescuers and provincial disaster officials in the region.

The earthquake destroyed or damaged more than 34,000 homes and centuries-old churches in the region, with the tourist island of Bohol, the epicenter of the temblor, suffering the worst damage.

Body bags

NDRRMC spokesperson Maj. Reynaldo Balido Jr. said the Bureau of Fire Protection would send body bags to Bohol.
Balido said it was unlikely survivors would be found five days after the earthquake.

“There are already reports of stench [in devastated areas],” Balido said.

The death toll climbed to 180 yesterday, according to combined information from the NDRRMC and the Bohol provincial police.

Of the dead, 167 were reported in Bohol, 12 in the nearby island of Cebu and 1 in Siquijor.

Six more bodies were recovered in Loon town and another in the municipality of Clarin, both in Bohol.

As of Saturday, the death toll in Bohol stood at 56 in Loon, 5 in Clarin, 2 in Jetafe, 2 in Buenavista, 5 in Calape, 7 in Tubigon, 5 in Balilihan, 4 in Inabanga, 1 in Batuan, 15 in Sagbayan, 1 in Baclayon, 4 in the capital Tagbilaran City, 2 in Loay; 2 in Alburquerque, 15 in Maribojoc, 6 in Bilar, 6 in Cortes, 5 in Catigbian, 13 in Antequera, 10 in San Isidro, 1 in Talibon, 1 in Trinidad, 2 in Danao, 1 in Sierra Bullones and 1 in Sevilla.

In Talisay City, Cebu province, the latest fatality reported on Friday was a man who was thrown off his motorcycle as the road shook.

Missing

All 12 missing are from Bohol, including the five children who were playing by a waterfall in Sagbayan town when the earthquake struck. Six of the missing are from Loon and one is from Clarin.

The number of the injured rose to 522 yesterday, 431 of them in Bohol, 89 in Cebu, 1 in Iloilo and 1 in Negros Oriental.
The NDRRMC said the quake displaced nearly 400,000 people. Many are still in makeshift tents, terrorized by aftershocks and unwilling to return home.

About 109,000 people are sheltering in government-run evacuation centers in Bohol and Cebu.

President Aquino, back in Malacañang after a two-day trip to South Korea, ordered his Cabinet to begin the rehabilitation of damaged infrastructure and intensify relief operations to help the survivors and the displaced.

Speed up relief

In a brief arrival statement, Mr. Aquino said that if South Korea could rise from destruction caused by war in the 1950s to become a prosperous industrialized country, so could the Philippines.

In effect, Mr. Aquino was saying Central Visayas could rise from the tragedy of the Oct. 15 earthquake.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview on Saturday that the President had ordered Cabinet officials “to make sure that relief efforts in Bohol and Cebu are moving.”

Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman, Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto and other provincial officials met again to make sure relief goods were reaching even isolated places, Valte said.

Valte said 10,000 food packages had reached nine of the 47 towns in Bohol and the capital Tagbilaran City. The towns finally reached by relief were Antequera, Calape, Carmen, Catigbian, Loon, Maribojoc, Panglao, San Isidro and Tubigon.

A statement from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said, however, that 19 towns and Tagbilaran City had received relief aid as of noon Saturday.

Valte could not say if relief had reached Danao, a fifth-class interior municipality 95 kilometers northeast of Tagbilaran City.

Hungry residents of Danao told journalists on Friday that they had yet to receive food and other aid from the DSWD.
Valte said 1,000 food packages and tents were to be sent to Tagbayan on Saturday.

Cebu as base

Relief operations picked up speed on Friday with the authorities’ decision to make Cebu the relief base instead of Manila, from which Philippine Air Force C-130 transport planes and Philippine Navy vessels had been ferrying the goods to Bohol.

Adding to the speed of relief delivery was the reopening of 11 national bridges in Bohol that were damaged by the earthquake.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said on Saturday that Camayaan Bridge, Tultogan Bridge, Bacong Bridge, Anislag Bridge and Daet Bridge, all located along Tagbilaran North Road, were now passable.

Five bridges along Tabilaran East Road were reopened after repairs. Passable again to light vehicles are Bonkokan Bridge, Banban Bridge, Balbalan Bridge, Panangatan Bridge and Agape Bridge along Loay Interior Road.

Camayaan Bridge along the Loboc interior road in Loon is also passable again, the DPWH said.

Evacuees

There are 90 evacuation centers in the quake-stricken region sheltering nearly 109,000 people.

Nearly 270,000 other displaced people are staying in makeshift tents outside the evacuation centers.

Of the evacuation centers, Bohol has 65, sheltering more than 103,000 people, with nearly 260,000 others staying in makeshift tents outside the evacuation camps.

Cebu has 25 evacuation centers sheltering more than 5,400 people, with more than 6,000 people staying in improvised shelters outside the evacuation centers.

Soliman gave assurance that the relief operations will continue until life in all the towns has returned to normal.

She said more than a hundred volunteers had been helping the DSWD pack relief goods since the earthquake struck on Tuesday.

Soliman thanked netizens for mobilizing support for the relief operations.

Neighboring countries have extended their sympathies to the Philippines for the death and destruction in Central Visayas.

Malaysian donation

Malaysia’s World Children Welfare Fund, an organization led by Rosmah Mansor, wife of Prime Minister Najib Razak, donated P1.4 million for the children affected by the earthquake in Bohol and Cebu.

The Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur said yesterday that Rosmah turned over the donation to Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Eduardo Malaya on Friday.

The World Children Welfare Fund provides aid to children caught in conflict and natural disasters around the world.

Malaysia’s volunteer relief organization Mercy Malaysia is also sending a five-member team to Cebu and Bohol tomorrow to help in emergency operations, with two more teams expected to follow soon, the embassy said.

Najib, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Toshinao Urabe have extended their sympathies and expressed solidarity with the Filipinos on behalf of their countries. With reports from Tina G. Santos, Cynthia D. Balana, Tarra Quismundo and AFP


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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