Lawmakers want state of calamity declared in Eastern Visayas

Mara Cepeda
Lawmakers want state of calamity declared in Eastern Visayas
Representatives Ben Evardone and Edgar Sarmiento make the call after the Leyte earthquake destroyed the region's main power source

MANILA, Philippines – Two lawmakers from Eastern Visayas are urging President Rodrigo Duterte to declare a state of calamity in their region following the Leyte earthquake that cut off power supply.

Eastern Samar Representative Ben Evardone and Samar 1st District Representative Edgar Sarmiento made the statement on Wednesday, July 12, nearly a week after a magnitude 6.5 earthquake rocked Leyte. 

The province’s main power source, the Tongonan Geothermal Power Plant, was destroyed by the earthquake, leaving Eastern Visayas without electricity.

An aftershock last Monday, July 10, with a magnitude of 5.8, also damaged the transmission lines of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) in the region. 

“We could have imported power supply from Cebu, but that power supply cannot be distributed because NGCP’s transmission lines are not working anymore due to aftershock,” said Evardone.

He also cited several implications of the powerful outage on Eastern Visayas.

“For one, fisherfolk cannot fish because there is no ice [to preserve their catch] due to [the] absence of power supply. Commercial establishments such as hotels, restaurants, banks are left in the dark,” said Evardone.

According to the lawmaker, the loss of power in the region may lead to the loss of jobs in the local copra industry.

“That’s why we lawmakers in the region agreed to appeal to the President to put Region VIII under [a] state of calamity,” said Evardone. 

He added that Eastern Visayas is already losing about P300 million to P500 million a day because of the lack of electricity.

The local government units of Ormoc City and the municipality of Kananga have already declared a state of calamity. (LOOK: IN PHOTOS: Leyte quake aftermath)

The Office of the Vice President will also send shelter materials for residents whose homes were damaged by the strong earthquake. –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.


Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.