SURIGAO CITY, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday, February 12, promised to release P2 billion for relief and rehabilitation efforts in earthquake-hit Surigao City.
Duterte, along with several Cabinet members, visited the city on Sunday. Surigao City had been placed under a state of calamity on Saturday, February 11.
The President, speaking at the city gymnasium, told residents that livelihood programs, housing, and medicines would also be provided for them.
"For Filipinos who cannot afford to buy medicines, just go to DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development), to [Secretary] Judy Taguiwalo," Duterte said.
Taguiwalo, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, Education Secretary Leonor Briones, and Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno accompanied the President during his visit.
'Time for sadness'
Duterte also expressed his condolences to the families of those killed in the magnitude 6.7 earthquake.
As of Sunday afternoon, 6 are confirmed dead while more than a hundred others who were injured are still in various hospitals.
"I am very sorry, we know that sometimes, life here on Earth, like what Ecclesiastes [says] in the Bible, that all that is happening in the world has time, we have a time to be sad, time to be happy, feast, celebration... we have a time for sadness," Duterte said.
Photo by Robinson Niu00f1al/Presidential Photo
The quake left 131 houses totally damaged and hundreds partially damaged across the city.
Hotels such as Tavern, Parkway, Barton, and Le Chard Place suffered damage as well, while malls such as Parkway and Gaisano Capital closed their doors to the public after portions of their buildings collapsed.
Some hospitals and schools were also damaged.
Lack of water
The water supply in Surigao City has yet to be fully restored.
The city government said they need portable water purifiers and water tankers, as well as tents, portalets, and hydraulic tools.
People are lining up along the streets waiting for water deliveries from volunteer organizations and companies.
Tom Olivares of CTP Construction and Mining Corporation said his firm is delivering water to different barangays using 3 water tankers. They also have a portable water purifier.
"We will be here [to distribute water] as long as we are needed, as long as necessary," Olivares said.