MAGSAYSAY, Davao del Sur, Oct. 22 (PIA) - More assistance poured in for the residents in Magsaysay town, whose houses were either totally or partially damaged by the magnitude 6.3 earthquake that struck the municipality Wednesday night (October 16) last week.
The 1,180 affected households from 22 barangays, who converged at the municipal gym yesterday afternoon (Oct. 21) each received food pack, sleeping kit, trapal and a P2,000 cash assistance from the Office of the Special Assistant to the President (OSAP) and Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go.
Sen. Go made a brief visit with the quake victims who were elated by the senator's presence and inspired by his message. The senator came from another visit with the Oct. 16 earthquake victims in Tulunan, North Cotabato.
The office of Sen. Go and OSAP are collaborating with other national government agencies to help ease the situation of the affected constituents of Magsaysay.
The National Housing Authority (NHA-XI) is set to provide P30,000 cash assistance to each of the 359 households verified to have totally damaged houses, and P20,000 to each of the 821 households with partially damaged houses.
Earlier, the Office of Civil Defense extended cash assistance worth P20,000 to each of the three victims who died in the catastrophe, namely Cris Joy Roda, 2 (not Christine Joy Roda as earlier reported by the local government of Magsaysay), Argen Abundo, 22, and her nine-month old child, Jay.
The OCD-XI also distributed basic construction tools, and sent experts to help assess the extent of damage in houses, buildings and other structures. The agency also provided psychological debriefing with the victims.
The affected families also received food packs from the local government units of Magsaysay and Davao City, and from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD-XI).
The other agencies which are expected to extend their respective help include the Department of Health (DOH-XI), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI Davao del Sur), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
The quake that hit the municipality has left an estimated P200 million worth of damages, 910 evacuees and 43 injured individuals.
This prompted the local government to place the town under the State of Calamity Friday morning (October 17), based on the recommendation of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC) due to the severity and extent of damages and casualties caused by the magnitude 6.3 earthquake.
One of the evacuees, B'laan Tribal Chieftain Renante Losanda, recalled how the devastating magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit their community and the ensuing damage after the said natural disaster.
"We just finished with dinner when the earthquake hit and we didn't expect it to be that strong that it damaged many houses including ours," Losanda recalled in the vernacular.
Despite the effects of the earthquake, Losanda was still thankful for the help that the various government agencies and the municipal government of Magsaysay have extended to their barangay.
Magsaysay Mayor Arthur Davin was also relieved by the assistance from the national government agencies, saying that the P8 million budget set from the declaration of the State of Calamity is not sufficient to address the devastation left by the calamity.
"The first thing that we should do is to relocate these people to a safer place, for the meantime, temporarily. For the long term solution, we need to look for a barangay site where they can be relocated," Davin stated.
The mayor has also ordered a forced evacuation of residents in Upper Bala and Tagaytay, saying "Kasi maraming bitak yung kanilang bundok, so we already issued a notice na kailangan talaga ito ng force evacuation."
"We assisted those affected through food and more particularly, temporary shelter since the evacuees are afraid to proceed to the evacuation for fear of another earthquake that may hit," Davin said. (PIA-XI/Carina L. Cayon and Kevin Caro)