April 2, 2023

The cost of damage on infrastructure and agriculture as a result of the magnitude 7.0 quake that hit the Cordillera and other parts of northern Luzon is more than half billion.

In the report of the Cordillera Regional Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council, damage to public infrastructure has reached P573,240,000 as of Aug. 2.

For agriculture, the amount of damage incurred on infrastructure, machineries, and equipment has reached P15,264,476.

The cost of damage is expected to increase, as the departments of Health, Education, Public Works and Highways, Tourism, and National Irrigation Administration are validating the damage on buildings, hospitals, roads, bridges, flood control projects, and irrigation system.  

Deployment of aid in the form of food and non-food items and psycho-social assistance is also ongoing with the DepEd, DOH, Department of the Interior and Local Government, and Department of Social Welfare and Development leading in these efforts.

Despite the earthquake, DepEd-Cordillera Director Estela Cariño said the resumption of in-person classes will push through as scheduled on Aug. 22.

But DepEd-Cordillera will adopt a hybrid system of instruction in Abra especially at areas where in-person classes cannot fully resume because of the damage incurred in school buildings or the student or teacher are directly affected by the earthquake.

Classes in Math, Science, and Math will be done in-person, Cariño said.

She appealed to parents and caregivers of the learners to understand the DepEd’s resolve of going back to classroom instruction.

“Please understand the situation. We need to go back to face-to-face classes in order to deliver quality education,” Cariño said in a press briefing last Aug. 2.

For DILG-Cordillera Director Araceli San Jose, she has issued a memorandum to concerned LGUs in Abra to make sure that distribution of relief items are done equitably.

The directive is in response to complaints lodged via the government call center Hotline 8888 about some families not receiving aid.

“We are calling on LGUs to be fair. Do not be selective this is not the time for politicking,” she said.

San Jose declined to identify the officials of LGUs who became the subject of complaints pending verification of the reports.

As of Aug. 2, the DSWD has distributed P52 million worth of food and non-food items.

The DOH, on the other hand, has been providing psycho-social support to those traumatized after experiencing the earthquake, latrines, temporary bath facilities, and continuous monitoring at evacuation centers to ensure minimum public health standards are followed and crowding are avoided.

As aftershocks continue to occur, the DPWH suggests for the public to put off traveling if it is not important as slopes are unstable and slides are likely to occur. The National Economic Development Authority, meanwhile, will lead in the formulation of a recovery program for areas badly affected by the earthquake. – Rimaliza A. Opiña