President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the construction of a new clinic worth PHP40 million in Itbayat, Batanes to replace the hospital in the said island-town that was damaged by a series of earthquakes.
In his afternoon briefing with national and regional officials in the province’s capital town of Basco and aired live by the Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM), Duterte said he is “not keen” on repairing the hospital because it would be costly.
“You are not also sure of its durability and viability,” he added. “I hope you put it into good use. It is a small clinic. (Like a) hospital. Hindi naman kayo marami rito (There are not so many of you living here)”.
The President also visited Itbayat and made an aerial surveillance of the damages caused by the earthquakes.
He assured the affected villagers of enough potable water, relief items, housing kits, and other amenities.
“We cannot predict when the earthquake will happen so we must be always ready,” he told the residents.
The first of the series of earthquakes struck Itbayat at 4:16 a.m. with a 5.4 magnitude, damaging several stone houses and other structures while most of the residents were still asleep.
A magnitude 5.9-earthquake again struck after three hours. A third earthquake struck at 9:24 a.m. with a magnitude of 5.8 while a weaker 4.9-magnitude tremor was recorded by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology at 6:11 p.m.
Nine people were killed, 63 were injured, while 911 families or 2,963 people were evacuated to the town plaza after the tremors. (PNA)
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