Faustino orders rapid damage assessment; deployment of rescue teams in quake-hit areas

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) instructed regional DRRM offices in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Ilocos (Region 1), Cagayan Valley (Region 2), Central Luzon (Region 3), and National Capital Region (NCR) to conduct rapid damage assessment in areas affected by the magnitude-seven earthquake that jolted Abra province on Wednesday, July 27.

Senior Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr., chairperson of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and Officer in Charge of the Department of National Defense (DND), attends a briefing in Malacanang following a magnitude-7 earthquake in Luzon on July 27, 2022. (Screenshot from RTVM livestream)

NDRRMC Chairperson and Department of National Defense (DND) Officer in Charge Jose Faustino Jr. also ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to provide ground, air, and water assets and rescue personnel for mobilization in the said areas.

As of 3 p.m., the NDRRMC said that there remains one fatality in their monitoring – a construction worker from La Trinidad, Benguet who was pinned to death by fallen debris.

On the other hand, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Sec. Benhur Abalos said he received reports that the fatality count already reached four: two in Benguet, one in Abra, and one in Mt. Province.

“We already issued a directive to Luzon regions regarding the reiteration of the response actions,” Faustino said in a press briefing in Malacanang.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines prepared assets for mobilization. We are talking about air assets and we could add more if necessary. Philippine Navy assets are on standby in Subic if necessary,” he continued.

Lt. Gen. Ernesto Torres Jr., commander of Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM), said a Cessna 208 Caravan utility aircraft conducted an aerial survey in the Cordillera region to determine the extent of damage of the earthquake.

“Disaster response units were activated already and they are being deployed by the commanders as needed,” Torres said.

A memorandum has also been issued to regional DRRM councils that directed them to monitor aftershocks and other secondary hazards; and cross validate the situation with other government agencies.