At least five persons were killed after a magnitude-7 earthquake struck Abra and nearby areas in Luzon on Wednesday, July 27.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said that one of the fatalities was a construction worker from La Trinidad, Benguet who died after being pinned down by fallen debris.
One death each was also recorded in Balbalan, Kalinga due to falling rocks; Tuba, Benguet; and Bangued, Abra.
The NDRRMC is still determining the details about the fifth fatality.
NDRRMC Chairperson and Department of National Defense (DND) Officer in Charge Jose Faustino Jr. coordinated with the regional DRRM offices in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Ilocos (Region 1), Cagayan Valley (Region 2), Central Luzon (Region 3), and National Capital Region (NCR) as he expressed the readiness of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to support the humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) operations of the local government units (LGUs).
According to the NDRRMC, road clearing operations were ongoing in the Cordillera due to reported rock erosions. In the Cordillera Centra range, the Tinoc-Buguias Road and Tinoc-Kiangan Road were deemed impassable to motorists due to multiple rock erosions.
A landslide along Gov. Bado Dangwa National Road in Kapangan, Benguet also rendered the major thoroughfare impassable and motorists were advised to take alternate route at Labueg-Datakan barangay road.
Communication in some areas in the Cordilleras was also affected due to power outage and signal interruption.
“We have sufficient relief stockpiles prepositioned in these regions to support local relief efforts undertaken by the LGUs,” Faustino was quoted as saying by NDRRMC spokesperson Mark Timbal.
Meanwhile, Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Region 1 public information officer (PIO) Mark Masudog said they will discuss with the local chief executives whether or not the LGU shall declare a state of calamity in the province.
“We are seeing a lot of social media posts and initial reports coming from the local DRRM Council that there were several buildings, particularly churches in Ilocos Sur province that sustained big damages. The effects on the heritage sites and old houses are huge,” he said.
“We are also receiving reports that there were local government units that have conducted a preemptive evacuation. We are looking into the report coming from the LGUs to determine if we can use it as basis to declare a state of calamity,” he added.