MANILA � President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to visit Batanes on Sunday afternoon to assess the extent of damage caused by the magnitudes 5.4 and 5.9 earthquakes that jolted Batanes Saturday morning.
MalacaAang said Duterte will be in the Basco, Batanes Airport to attend a situation briefing there.
The President is expected to visit the people of Batanes today, assess the extent of damage in the province and initiate the rebuilding of one of the most treasured destinations of the country, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
Panelo, meanwhile, offered condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones during the earthquakes that hit Batanes.
We send our sincerest prayers for the fast and speedy recovery of those who were injured, Panelo said.
Panelo also assured that the national government has ordered all concerned departments to mobilize and render immediate assistance to those affected.
In a separate statement, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Duterte has tasked the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to be on top of coordination efforts to ensure that all the necessary emergency assistance would reach Batanes province immediately.
Nograles said due to inclement weather, government is working double time to make sure that the government can immediately provide help to those who are affected by the quake
Food packs that are prepositioned in the capital town of Basco are now en route to Itbayat town which was hardest hit by the 5.9 magnitude quake that shook the tiny island province, Nograles said.
However, he said Batanes's rocky coastal waters which are notorious because of high and dangerous waves, have made it very difficult to provide relief through seagoing vessels.
Citing the latest situation reports, Nograles said at least eight people are confirmed dead while 60 others have been reported injured.
No major structural damage has been reported so far, except for the Nuestra SeAora Del Rosario Church bell tower, he added
Except for the total power shutdown, Nograles said Itbayat remains fairly accessible for relief operations for the 11 evacuation centers that were set up for the residents.
Itbayat is the country's northernmost municipality, with a total population of less than three thousand.
To date, Itbayat needs more tents for the residents who were evacuated at the town plaza; biscuits or bread for survival consumption; portable generators and potable water, Nograles added. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency