By Prince Golez
President Rodrigo Duterte has directed all relevant agencies to check and submit a report on the series of earthquakes that have struck Mindanao in two weeks.
This will ensure government buildings and public school buildings are safe, as well as the safety of evacuees, said Communications Secretary Martin Andanar Thursday.
Andanar said Duterte ordered the Department of Energy to check power interruptions in the affected areas and the Department of Public Works and Highways to evaluate road conditions.
The President, he added, tasked the Department of Labor and Employment to report job displacement among workers in affected areas and provide them with all necessary assistance,
The Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Health were instructed to provide relief and medical assistance.
Meanwhile, Andanar called on Congress to amend the National Building Code to avoid further structural danger during natural disasters.
“It’s high time to revamp and tighten this outdated law as its current framework is very lax. Let us not wait for a disaster to happen before we become strict in granting building permits,” he added.
The secretary also urged the public not to panic and rely only on legitimate sources of information from the national and local government.
“While the government is doing its part, we urge the residents and individuals in the affected areas to stay safe and remain vigilant of possible aftershocks; and to report to the authorities unsafe damaged structures. We also ask that the affected local governments in Mindanao closely coordinate with national agencies so they can speedily extend assistance.
“We remind everyone to stay compassionate and considerate to each other in these trying times. While we’re at it, let us pray for the safety of our brothers and sisters in Mindanao and for their quick recovery and return to normalcy,” he said.