MANILA (UPDATE) - President Rodrigo Duterte visited Tuesday the quake-hit province of Pampanga, and inspected the town of Porac where at least 4 people died.
He was accompanied by House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who represents the province’s 2nd district. The district has been placed under a state of calamity.
The President, during his visit, inspected the collapsed Chuzon Supermarket in Porac, and visited the wake of a child who died in the building’s collapse.
Pampanga incurred heavy damage following the 6.1-magnitude quake that struck Luzon on Monday.
The tremor was centered on the town of Castillejos, Zambales, about 100 kilometers northwest of Manila, but the quake caused more damage in Pampanga because of its soft ground due to lahar deposits, Phivolcs chief Renato Solidum said.
After inspecting Porac, the President went to the Pampanga Provincial Capitol in San Fernando for a site briefing from disaster officials.
Duterte said business operations of all Chuzon groceries in Pampanga should be suspended until an assessment of all of its buildings in conducted.
“Well, in all probability the one who constructed the supermart here could also be the one who constructed the others. I’d like to presume that. Although I stand corrected,” the President said.
“So it would be good at this time to just give them the advice to stop --- cease and desist doing business until such time that the clearance given by government whether the city or city engineer or whoever is competent to review the planning and inquire into what kind of materials whether they were made or applied in right sizes or was there any shortcuts made,” he added.
The local government on Tuesday placed the second district of Pampanga under a state of calamity. This covers the towns of Floridablanca, Guagua, Lubao, Porac, Santa Rita, and Sasmuan.
The declaration of a state of calamity will expedite the release of calamity funds, which will be used for rescue and relief operations.
At least 16 people were killed in the earthquake, one of the strongest to strike close to the densely populated Philippine capital in years.
On Tuesday, a stronger 6.5 magnitude quake struck Eastern Samar, less than 24 hours after the first tremor.