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GENERAL SANTOS, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. saw for himself the damage caused by the November 17 magnitude 6.8 earthquake that killed at least seven, hurt hundreds, and destroyed millions of pesos worth of infrastructure in the Soccsksargen region alone.
Marcos Jr. distributed on Thursday, November 23, aid to residents whose houses were damaged and destroyed as a result of the earthquake.
He addressed them, telling them to remain vigilant because aftershocks are expected.
Marcos’ arrival was preceded hours earlier by a magnitude 5 aftershock. A day before, on November 22, a 5.8 aftershock was also felt. No one was reported hurt, and there was no damage report.
“Let us remain vigilant,” he said, telling the residents and local officials to be take the threat of aftershocks seriously.
He said casualties usually come in aftershocks, Marcos said.
Marcos also ordered local officials to remain on the ground to attend to the needs of residents and to ensure their safety.
“Stay on alert and make sure that no one will be hurt,” he said.
Marcos was joined by one of his 2022 presidential campaign rivals, former senator and Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao, during the aid distribution.
The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) listed around 12,800 residents in the Soccsksargen and Davao regions as having been affected by the November 17 earthquake.
In Sarangani province, which took a heavy beating from the temblor, authorities reported that damage to roads alone was pegged at close to P22 million.
Malapatan town sustained the most damage to roads and bridges at P9.1 million, followed by Glan at P8.9 million, Malungon town at P3.6 million, and Alabel at P240,000.
The towns of Glan and Malapatan have been declared under a state of calamity.
In Glan, the municipal wharf was closed after it took heavy damage from the quake.
Glan Mayor Victor James Yap told Rappler that a 30-meter section of the wharf is gone.
“It possibly sank during the earthquake,” he said.
Landslides and huge ground fissures marked the destruction in Glan, whose municipal hall was not spared.
With the extent of damage it sustained, experts said the town hall’s structural integrity may have been compromised.
The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) declared the town hall as unsafe despite an earlier pronouncement by the town mayor that it can still be used.
“Lig-on ni, nakapilote ni. (This building is strong, it has a strong foundation),” he said.
The cost of damage to the town hall and wharf is still being assessed, Yap said.
In South Cotabato, disaster risk reduction officials reported at least 164 houses were affected, including 38 houses wrecked.
Rolly Doane Aquino, head of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO), said the provincial government would provide shelter assistance to residents whose houses were destroyed by the quake, based on an assessment by the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO).
Aquino said there were 375 residents who were hurt during the earthquake. They mostly suffered from hyperventilation, panic attacks, and minor lacerations. Of those affected, around 252 residents were hospitalized. –Rappler.com