President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has emphasized the importance of “disaster-proof” planning of communities, after a magnitude 7 earthquake rocked Abra and nearby provinces in northern Luzon on July 27.
Marcos lamented how the powerful quake caused damaged to several houses, buildings, and cultural and heritage sites, including in his home province, Ilocos Norte.
In his latest vlog uploaded on his official Facebook page on Saturday, Marcos vowed that his administration will ensure the immediate restoration of damaged structures.
“Ito’y nasira at kailangan talagang ma-restore kaagad. Kaya naman lahat ng ating mga ma-itatayo na mga bago ay disaster-proof na ang ating pagplano sa mga ito mula sa mga kalye, building, pati na rin heritage site, eskwelahan, ospital, mga bahay ng ating mga mamamayan (These were destroyed and need to be restored immediately. That’s why we must have a disaster-proof planning in all the structures that we will build, including roads, buildings, heritage sites, schools, hospitals, and residential houses),” he said.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported Saturday that the number of families affected by the strong quake that shook several parts of northern Luzon has climbed to 62,024.
The data is equivalent to 228,238 persons living in 639 villages in the regions of Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, and Cordillera.
At least 1,910 families or 6,490 individuals are in evacuation centers, while the rest are being aided by families and friends, according to the NDRRMC report.
Around 12,645 houses in Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Cordillera, and Metro Manila were classified as “partially damaged,” while 157 others were “totally damaged.”
Marcos lauded the national government agencies and the local government units for their quake response efforts.
He also thanked the private individuals who helped the government in assisting the victims.
“Maraming, maraming salamat sa inyo. Lahat po iyan ay nagamit na ng mga naging biktima nitong napakalakas na lindol (Thank you to all of you. All your donations have been utilized for the victims of this powerful earthquake),” Marcos said.
Marcos stressed the need to step up disaster response and preparedness as the Philippines is located along the typhoon belt, hit by about 20 storms yearly, and the so-called “Ring of Fire”, where volcanic eruptions and earthquakes often occur.
“Tayo rin ang may pinakamataas ang risk sa mga epekto ng climate change. Takaw sakuna ang ating lokasyon kaya’t hindi tayo dapat magkulang sa paghahanda (We are also at high risk for the effects of climate change. We are prone to disasters that’s why we should not be lacking in preparedness),” he said.
Marcos reiterated that the immediate passage of the mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program, this time for senior high school students instead of the collegiate level, would help train and mobilize the youth during emergencies, including disaster preparedness and capacity building for risk-related situations.
“Mag-ingat po tayong lahat at laging tandaan na sa anumang atin pang harapin, ang diwa ng ating pagka-Pilipino ay mananatiling maningning (Let’s be careful and always remember that whatever challenges we face in the future, the essence of being Filipino will always shine),” he said. (PNA)