PNoy visits Cebu, assures help to quake-damaged infra

President Benigno “PNoy” Aquino gave assurance to help rebuild the infrastructures in Cebu that suffered damage in the aftermath of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Central Visayas.

Aquino conducted an ocular inspection of the affected areas in the provinces Bohol and Cebu last October 16. He first set foot in Bohol, which absorbed major damage. The epicenter of the quake lies two kilometers southeast of the town of Carmen, Bohol (Phivolcs later corrected that the epicenter lies southwest of the town of Sagbayan, Bohol).

In Cebu, together with Governor Hilario P. Davide III and Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, Aquino visited the Capitol.

They visited the executive building, including the governor’s office, which sustained cracks and the Capitol social hall with damaged ceilings plus the façade of the Capitol building. The President also checked on the office of the vice governor in the legislative building, which suffered the most damage among the buildings at the Capitol compound.

Earlier, Davide decided to let the Capitol employees go home and advised the department heads to only retain a skeletal force. A few offices in the executive building also suffered cracks and was closed for work.

The President also inspected Basilica del Sto. Niño, whose belfry turned into rubbles, and the Mandaue City public market, where two persons were killed when its ceiling collapsed.

At the MIP lounge of the Mactan Cebu International Airport, Aquino chaired the joint convention of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC).

He said he needed the accurate assessment data as soon as possible, specifying if these buildings need replacement or repair.

A team from the Metro Manila Development Authority is currently doing an assessment of the damage for the province. A special engineering team from the Department of Public Works and Highways will also be conducting structural assessment on the public buildings in Cebu.

DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson reported that the national roads and bridges in the island sustained no major damage. The Secretary also reported no serious damage on the two bridges connecting mainland Cebu to Mactan Island.

According to Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology Director Renato Solidum, the vibration of 7.2 intensity quake in Bohol was strongly felt in Cebu.

The magnitude of the quake in Cebu is 7.0. Solidum observed that many buildings in Cebu behaved accordingly to the intensity of the quake. The latest building code stated that all buildings must be able to withstand a 7.0 magnitude quake.

Solidum further said he expected more aftershocks to be felt in the coming days but assured the Cebuanos “that these can no longer create significant effects.”

The earthquake killed six persons in the province, which was declared under a state of calamity. It also caused damage to the other Capitol-owned buildings such as Cebu International Convention Center and the Cebu Cultural Center and the Museo Sugbo.

Classes in all levels in Cebu Province are still suspended until the school buildings are certified as safe by DPWH.

According to Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman, the quake affected 6,329 families or about 17,000 individuals in the region. (Xerxes Alkuino)