Sunday, December 10, 2023

PBBM Orders Prompt Action To Help Quake Victims In Sarangani


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MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has directed concerned government agencies to provide immediate assistance to the victims of the magnitude 6.8 earthquake that jolted Sarangani, Davao Occidental, Malacañang said Friday.

“The President has instructed every relevant government agency to promptly take action to ensure the safety and well-being of those affected,” Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil said in a statement.

The tectonic quake struck at a depth of 72 kilometers about 34 kilometers northwest of Sarangani Island at around 4:14 p.m., the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reported in an updated advisory.

Phivolcs initially reported that the quake was registered at magnitude 7.2.

Marcos is in San Francisco, California for the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit when the earthquake happened.

Phivolcs said damage from the quake is expected and warned of possible aftershocks.

There was no tsunami threat following the quake, based on available sea-level data.

However, Phivolcs said earthquakes of this size may generate unusual sea level disturbances that may be observed along coasts near the earthquake epicenter of Davao Occidental.

In an X post, Marcos said the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has activated its emergency preparedness and response protocols.

He added that the Civil Defense Regional Offices are coordinating closely with local government units (LGUs) to provide real-time updates.

“Following the 6.8 magnitude earthquake in Davao Occidental at 4:14 PM, I assure you that the government is actively responding to ensure the safety of our citizens,” Marcos said.

“In these challenging times, my commitment to your safety and recovery is unwavering, and I have instructed every relevant government agency to fully contribute to ongoing efforts.”

Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rex Gatchalian has immediately directed its field offices in Mindanao to be on high alert and ready to help LGUs that may be severely affected by the latest earthquake.


Blue alert

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) raised the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Operations Center (NDRRMOC)’s alert status to “Blue” to closely coordinate, consolidate, and report all related incidents as well as to ensure prompt coordination with concerned agencies and offices.

“Civil Defense officials at the national and regional level are closely monitoring the progress of the operations, coordinating with the local government unit disaster managers. We have placed the NDRRM Operations Center under ‘Blue’ alert, requiring the AFP, PNP, PCG, and BFP to render duty to support response activities,” OCD administrator, Undersecretary Ariel Nepomuceno, said in a statement.

“We want to assure the residents of affected areas that, as instructed by President Marcos Jr. and Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr., the national government is on board and ready to provide necessary assistance,” he added.

As of writing, reported impacts of the earthquake include power outage in General Santos City and Lebak, Sultan Kudarat; one damaged school and damaged houses in Sarangani, Davao Occidental.

A report of one dead person in Barangay Butuan, Jose Abad Santos, Davao Occidental is still being validated as of this time.

The NDRRMC earlier disseminated an Emergency Alert and Warning Message (EAWM) to the provinces of Davao Occidental, Davao del Sur, Sarangani, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Cotabato to advise the communities to take precautionary measures. (with a report from Priam Nepomuceno/PNA)

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