Press Release
October 20, 2013

'Fast track aid efforts to Central Visayas' - Nancy
Appeals to national gov't to send in SeaBees, Engineering Brigade

Senator Nancy Binay today appealed to the national government to fast track efforts to help residents in earthquake affected areas in Central Visayas, especially in the provinces of Bohol and Cebu now that the disaster is now entering its second week.

Binay said the towns of Sagbayan, Maribojoc, Loon, Sagap and Antequera in Bohol have become almost isolated since they were inaccessible by land due to damaged roads, collapsed bridges and landslides.

Although these towns are now partially reachable since Saturday, it took several days for the relief teams and rescue workers to finally manage to provide aid to earthquake victims who had to rely on their own meager resource to survive without water and electricity.

"Time is of the essence when it comes to rescue operations and disaster relief. Response beyond 48 hours is appalling especially now that the disaster is entering its second week," the lady senator said.

Humanitarian groups led by the Philippine Red Cross, international non-government organizations, media groups, volunteer miners/rescue teams and good Samaritans were the first ones to enter the isolated towns despite the lack of access.

"We appeal to the concerned national government agencies, especially the Department of National Defense, the PNP, the DSWD, the MMDA, DPWH, DOH, and DOTC to supplement their personnel who are assigned in Bohol in order to speed up relief and rescue efforts, particularly in the interior municipalities and barangays which remain inaccessible," Binay noted.

Most of the towns are inaccessible by land, except to helicopters, but rescue workers and relief teams were able to find ways via coastal access.

"More and more people in Bohol and Cebu are becoming hungry and sick, hence the need to fast track national government aid efforts," she added.

Binay called on the Philippine Navy and Philippine Army to send in their construction and engineering brigades to Bohol and Cebu to help complement to lack of heavy equipment and technical personnel on the ground.

"Hindi kakayanin ng pala at piko ang pagbubungkal ng lupa o pagtibag ng mga semento," Binay said.

She added that the Army and Navy can mobilize their reservists to help in the "relief and recovery operations", and send in their landing ship tanks (LST) to provide support in carrying important cargoes such as potable water, food and medicines.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said the 7.2 magnitude earthquake affected 695,466 families or 3,492,496 people in 1,373 villages in 53 towns and eight cities in six provinces. At least 22,004 families or 108,917 people are staying in 90 evacuation centers.

Around 183 people died, with at least 487 persons injured in the temblor.

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