December 5, 2022

Following the 6.4 magnitude earthquake that jolted the northern part of the country, the Department of the Interior and Local Government commended 282 local chief executives (LCEs) from the Cordillera, regions 1 and 2 who responded and executed urgent measures to ensure the safety of their jurisdictions leading to zero casualty and 182 individuals evacuated.

DILG Sec. Benjamin Abalos, Jr. said the LCEs’ response is critical in any disaster, especially earthquakes.

He said the LCEs presence and quick action in the recent quake spell the difference in the government’s response efforts, particularly in areas closer to the epicenter.

“We thank the 282 LCEs from CAR, Regions 1 and 2 for manning their areas of jurisdictions during this recent earthquake in Abra. Your urgent actions made all the difference in saving people’s lives. Hindi natin alam kung kailan magkakalindol but your leadership has really carried us through,” Abalos said.

Based on the data gathered by the DILG field offices, Abalos said 74 of 77 LCEs in the Cordillera were manning their posts and were on top of the earthquake response efforts while 125 of 128 LCEs from Region 1 and 85 out of 93 from Region 2 were likewise reported to be pressed at work during and after the quake.

He said the LCEs led in the conduct of evacuation in affected communities; provision of relief goods to the internally displaced persons (IDPs); ongoing conduct of rapid damage assessment and needs analysis within their respective areas of responsibility; and deployed all heavy equipment and rescue equipment/resources in strategic areas.

LCEs likewise convened their respective local disaster risk reduction and management councils (LDRRMCs) and have conducted emergency response meetings; and activated all concerned barangay DRRMCs for close coordination, prepositioned necessary supplies, and prepared evacuation centers.

According to the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology earthquake advisory, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake of tectonic origin occurred with its epicenter located five kilometers northeast of Lagayan, Abra at a depth of 13 kilometers at 10:59 PM on Oct. 25.

Last July 27, Abra was hit by a powerful earthquake which resulted in 498 houses in the province being declared as totally damaged while there are 26,350 with partial damage.

The DILG chief said 52 families or 182 individuals were evacuated in the Cordillera with reports of 442 partially damaged houses and 14 totally damaged houses and one impassable road. He added that 47 individuals were injured due to the said earthquake.

 “Our LCEs are continuously working the rounds to evaluate and extend the needed assistance especially in hardly hit areas. Patuloy din po ang mga hakbangin ng pamahalaan sa pagtulong sa ating mga kababayan sa norte,” he said.

Abalos lauded LCEs who were visible on the ground to attend to the needs of their people and respond to the urgent assistance efforts within their jurisdiction in the wake of the said earthquake.

Nakakatuwa na sila mismo ang bumababa upang pangunahan ang response efforts sa kanilang nasasakupan.”

He said among these LCEs was Balbalan Mayor Almar P. Malannag who personally visited the senior citizens housed at the Balbalan Hostel and transferred them to the municipal building for their safety as the building is checked for integrity.

Vintar Mayor Richard A. Degala and Solsona Mayor Joseph A. De Lara conducted inspections and assessment of damage within their jurisdictions while Rosales Mayor William S. Cezar and Cabugao Mayor Josh Cobangbang urgently gathered their Municipal DRRMC for an emergency meeting to mobilize response efforts in their municipalities. – Press release