State of Calamity up in Batangas city, Mabini and Tingloy due to quakes

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Batangas City – The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) has unanimously a resolution on Monday declaring a state of calamity in the quake-hit areas of the Batangas City and the municipalities of Mabini and Tingloy and authorizing the utilization of the P49.2 million quick response fund by the provincial governor.

Vice Gov. Sofronio Ona said the fund will be used to augment for the immediate needs of evacuees such as food, water and temporary shelters.

“The main reason why we only declared state of calamity in two towns and a city is because it’s only them who has declared the same. We just adopted their declara

tion,” he told reporters in an interview after the April 10 special session.

In case other municipalities follow, the vice governor said that the sanggunian will call for another special session to adopt the same resolutions and declare a state of calamity in their areas.

Board members specifically Ramon Bausas and Philippine Councilors League Chairman Mildred Sanchez expressed apprehension over placing the entire province under state of calamity as the tourism industry in other municipalities such as San Juan and Nasugbu might be hurt by the declaration leaving people the impression that the “whole” and not “portions” of Batangas province were under state of calamity.

The tourism industry in the towns of Mabini and Tingloy already took a heavy hit as some diving tourists immediately cancelled their bookings following the earthquake and the diving ban being imposed.

Even those who weren’t affected like San Juan took the brunt from the said booking cancellations and board members feared others might follow soon, board members feared.

They said this wouldn’t have happened at a worst time as as it’s already summer that is generally considered a peak season for tourists.

“That’s the main reason why we only chose to declare in those who had their own resolutions,” Ona explained, adding that for the meantime those who did not may also seek the help of the provincial social welfare and development office for the needs of their constituents who were affected by the quakes.

Their position was contrary to the earlier pronouncement of Gov. Hermilando Mandanas who called in past interviews and meetings with disaster officials to declare the entire province of Batangas under state of calamity pending the assessment of damages.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said the first strong earthquake with a magntiude of 5.6 hit the province at about 3:07 pm. Its epicenter was located two kilometers northwest of Mabini, Batangas. At least 1001 aftershocks have been recorded as of April 9 at 9 pm, the agency’s director and DOST USec. Renato Solidum said.

Shortly after, a stronger earthquake of magnitude 6 was felt at 12 kilometers northwest of Mabini.

The earthquakes, both tectonic in origin, was felt at intensity 7 in Mabini; Intensity 6 in Tingloy, Bauan, Calatagan, Cuenca and Nasugbu; Intensity 5 in Batangas City, Sto. Tomas, San Pascual and Lemery towns, Bailen and Indang Cavite; Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro and Tagaytay City.

An intensity 4 earthquake hit Taal, Batangas; Obando, Bulacan; San Teodoro, Oriental Mindoro; Dasmariñas, Cavite; Calamba, Laguna; Lucena City, Quezon; and Pateros, Caloocan, Valenzuela and Manila cities.

The areas of Makati City, Pasig City, Pasay City, Quezon City, Muntinlupa City, Malabon City, Mandaluyong City, Imus and Bacoor, Cavite, Lucban, Quezon; Daet, Camarines Norte; Sta. Rosa, Laguna; Gen. Trias, Cavite and Bocaue Bulacan each felt intensity 3 earthquakes.

Two strong earthquakes have rocked Batangas province, Metro Manila and neighboring Luzon on Saturday afternoon, damaging infrastructures, blocking road paths and sending thousands of residents from a resort-rich town fleeing from their homes.

At least three people were confirmed injured from the quake, disasters officials said.  A male victim who works for a glass and aluminum shop was hurt in Mabini while another man sustained injuries from falling debris of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Bauan in the middle of the quake.

Also hurt was a man after a stampede occurred at the Citimart in Bauan as people were trying to leave the establishment after the quake but authorities said

PDRRMO Officer Lito Castro said the victims were treated in separate hospitals and doctors declared them safe.

As of Monday morning, at least 3,580 people have been affected by the earthquake. More than 820 families had totally damaged houses while 810 others had theirs partially destroyed by the quake.

As a pre-emptive measure, thousands of residents who felt the strong quake also fled their respective houses and stayed at evacuation centers and self-made camps in front of the Batangas provincial capitol, community park and various municipal halls.

PDRRMC said about 9,660 people were housed inside evacuation sites while 1,688 others went to their relatives where they feel safer.

Some infrastructures were damaged including churches such as the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Batangas City which had collapsed walls and ceilings and the namesake’s parish in Bauan who also had fallen debris from the quake. Taal’s Basilica of St. Martin Tours was also damaged by the quake.

Buildings at the Camp Netanya Hotel Resort in Mabini sustained cracks and had fallen debris damaging three parked vehicles while some ceilings and walls also collapsed at the Mabini General Hospital.

Not even the 89-year-old provincial capitol building was spared from the wrath as some offices specifically the 2nd floors of provincial accounting and provincial planning office sustained cracks following the quake. Estimated worth of damages now amount up to P80 million according to provincial engineer Gilbert Gatdula.

Trips were also suspended momentarily at the Batangas Port for two hours but were lifted as soon as Phivolcs clarified before coast guard authorities that no tsunami warning was issued at that time.