Pampanga to declare state of calamity

The damaged church of St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish in Porac, Pampanga on April 23, 2019, after a 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck some parts of Luzon including Metro Manila. Photo by Lisa Marie David/Rappler

MANILA – The Pampanga local government is set to declare a state of calamity following the magnitude 6.1 earthquake that struck parts of central Luzon on Monday afternoon.

Pampanga governor Lilia Pineda said she recommended placing the province under the state of calamity due to the continuous rising of the death toll.

“Nag-recommend ako sa Sangguniang Panlalawigan na mag-declare na kami ng state of calamity kasi kailangan naming tulungan ‘yung pamilya ng casualties,” Pineda said.“‘Yung mga may gumuhong bahay, kailangan nating tulungan para makabalik sila. At kailangan i-repair ang maliliit na bridges.”

She added:“Marami tayong dapat i-consider sa mga building, mga school, mga government offices natin, tignan kung nagkaroon ba ng malaking crack para malaman kung pwede pang i-repair.”

In a state of calamity, price controls would be imposed on basic necessities and prime commodities while local government units could appropriate calamity funds.

Pineda said local government officials were still collating reports on casualties from each town.

“Ngayon pa lang natin makukuha ‘yung report kung ilan talaga ‘yung casualty natin kasi Porac pa lang ito eh tsaka Lubao. Wala pang report ‘yung ibang bayan-bayan,” she added.

Based on the initial report, five people were dead and six others were wounded from the rubble at Chuzon Supermarket in Porac.

Search and rescue for those who were trapped inside the collapsed four-storey building was still ongoing as of press time.

Pineda asked for the help of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in the inspection and construction of damaged infrastructures in the province.

“Sa ngayon, ‘yung worst na talagang tinututukan namin ay ‘yung building na nag-collapse. Ang kailangan namin ‘yung tulong ng DPWH para sa inspection at saka ‘yung mga gagawin na tulay na nag-crack, mga kalsada na mayroon ding damage,” Pineda said.

Meanwhile, House of Representatives speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo cut short her trip to the Boao Forum for Asia in China to visit and check the situation of her constituents.

“Of course I was very sad. I’m especially concerned about Chuzon Supermarket because the four floors collapsed and three were found dead but there might be other people trapped,” Arroyo said.

Arroyo added businessman Manny Pangilinan, who co-chairs the Philippine Disaster Relief Foundation (PDRF), is sending miners to help dig into the rubble to rescue those who were trapped.

“The NDRRMC [National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council] is already on board and also the PDRF, the government and private sector but I’d like to go there now to see it for myself so that I can see what else has to be done,” added Arroyo. /PN


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