Duterte promises P40 million for earthquake-hit Batanes

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday, July 28, vowed to give P40 million to Batanes in the aftermath of earthquakes that hit the province. 

The money, he said during a situation briefing in Batanes, is to be used for the construction of a new hospital.

"I hope you'd put it to good use. The P40 million would bring you something small, [like a] clinic, hospital," the President said. "I am not keen on repairing [the existing hospital] – that's too expensive and you are not sure of its durability or viability."

The P40 million is an initial estimate by the Department of Public Works and Highways, according to a Department of Health official present during the briefing.

The earthquakes – magnitude 5.4 and magnitude 5.9 – struck Saturday morning, July 27, leaving at least 8 people killed and around 60 others injured.

The DSWD said it has provided financial assistance to its team in the province and distributed food packs to residents.

Homes and heritage structures, including the historic Sta Maria de Mayan Church in Itbayat, were damaged by the tremors that struck within hours of each other. (LOOK: Itbayat church, ancestral homes damaged in Batanes earthquake)

On Duterte's visit to Batanes on Sunday, he also conducted an aerial inspection of the damage. – Rappler.com