DPWH to order inspection of Chuzon grocery stores after Luzon earthquake

PAMPANGA, Philippines – Public Works Secretary Mark Villar said he will ask for an inspection of all other branches of the grocery store that collapsed in Porac town, Pampanga.

In a media interview on Tuesday, April 23, Villar said he will add Chuzon Supermarket to the list of infrastructure to be inspected, apart from public works.

"Ipapacheck po 'yung mga building. Kasama rin sa sasabihin ko na ipa-check lahat ng Chuzon. (We will have the buildings checked. I will also add Chuzon to the list of what needs to be checked)," Villar said.

The collapsed 4-storey Chuzon Supermarket was considered as the ground zero in this province, with Porac as the town having the most damaged infrastructure in Pampanga.

Chuzon Supermarket is owned by businessman Samuel Chu, with 4 other branches in Pampanga at Sto Tomas, Apalit, Guagua, and Floridablanca; and in Gerona, Tarlac and Mariveles, Bataan.

In Guagua, the municipal engineer had temporarily suspended the operations of the Chuzon Supermarket branch there, following the collapse of the Porac branch.

As of 9 am on Tuesday, 12 bodies have been pulled out from the rubble, 4 of them have died while 8 were survivors brought to the nearby hospital. Total reported deaths in the province have reached 9.

Of the victims, one woman had to be amputated so she could be rescued from the building. Most of the survivors are employees of the grocery store, while 3 of those who died were shoppers.

According to Civil Defense Central Luzon director Marlou Salazar, only the ground floor of the building served as a grocery store while the other floors were living quarters.

Salazar said in a media interview on Monday, April 22, that some of the survivors ran out from the exits while others jumped from the building to escape the collapsing structure.

In other areas in Pampanga, Villar said that the following were massively hit by the quake:

Villar said the department's forensic assessment team are currently gathering samples to evaluate the infrastructure integrity.

"Hindi naman malaki ang structural damage pero andun pa rin ang assessment team para ma-validate. (There was no major structural damage but we deployed our assessment team to validate)," Villar told reporters. 

The control tower and passenger terminal of the Clark International Airport were also damaged, prompting aviation authorities to temporarily shut down operations. At least 7 people were injured when its departure area ceiling collapsed.

On Monday, earthquake rocked parts of Luzon at 5:11 pm, with some areas in Pampanga experiencing intensities V and IV. 

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said the epicenter of the earthquake was located in Castillejos, Zambales. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.

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