June 14, 2024

A mayor in Abra has asked Malacañang to help boost the disaster response capability of local government units in wake of the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that hit northern Luzon on July 27, with the province as its epicenter.

La Paz Mayor Joseph Bernos asked President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to provide additional firetrucks and ambulances, saying these will help boost the province’s ability to respond to emergencies.

Specifically, Bernos asked the President, who flew to Abra on July 28 for a situation briefing, if it was possible for the Department of the Interior and Local Government to leave some of the new firetrucks being used in the disaster relief operations in the province.

Bernos said he was informed that the Bureau of Fire Protection brought 15 brand new fire trucks to Abra.

Baka pwede pong iwan na langyung iba dito because Abra has only four firetrucks that are on ‘top condition’. Others are dilapidated. In Bangued, they have a firetruck that is more than 30 years old,” Bernos said.

If granted, he said the additional firetrucks would enhance the emergency response of Abra’s 16 fire stations.

Aside from firetrucks, Bernos said the province needs additional ambulance, which he said, Abra LGUs often begged for from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office in the previous administration.

Siguro naman po, (ma-grant) ‘yung request namin because Ilocano ang president and we delivered 96 percent of Abra votes during the election. Tingin ko, kami naman po ang maniningil ngayon,” Bernos said.

Marcos said the mayor’s comments were “well noted”.

“We will look into it. The problem of (lack of) firetruck and ambulance is worse here in Abra than in other provinces. Medyo naiwanan kayo,” Marcos said.

When pressed by Bernos if the DILG, through Sec. Benhur Abalos could leave some of the 15 new firetrucks being used in the disaster relief operations in Abra, the President replied: “Pag-usapan niyo. Baka makunbinsi mo.”

Abalos was among the national government agency officials who flew with Pres. Marcos to Abra.

The earthquake that also jolted other provinces in the Cordillera and Region 1 had its epicenter in Tayum, Abra, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. The provincial board placed Abra under a state of calamity, citing the extensive damage brought by the earthquake to the province’s major infrastructures and to the residents. – Jane B. Cadalig