Duterte to visit quake-hit Batanes on Sunday

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 28 2019 08:12 AM | Updated as of Jul 28 2019 06:04 PM

A pair of earthquakes that struck Batanes left several structures in ruins on July 27, 2019. Photo courtesy of Ana Dito Nico

MANILA (UPDATE)- President Rodrigo Duterte will visit Batanes on Sunday after a pair of earthquakes struck the province on Saturday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President will depart his hometown Davao City at around 10:30 a.m. for Batanes.

"The President is expected to visit the people of Batanes today, assess the extent of damage in the province and initiate the rebuilding of one of the most treasured destinations of the country," Panelo said in a statement.

The Palace also extended its condolences to the kin of those killed in the tremors, and noted that the national government has ordered all concerned departments to assist those affected. 

"The Palace offers its deep condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones during the earthquakes that hit Batanes. We send our sincerest prayers for the fast and speedy recovery of those who were injured," Panelo said.

Eight people were killed while over 100 others were injured after 2 strong earthquakes hit the northern islands on Saturday morning.

The first tremor with a magnitude-5.4 struck at 4:16 a.m. at a depth of 12 kilometers (kms) northeast of Itbayat town.

Three hours later, a second one at magnitude-5.9 struck at about 19 kms off Itbayat.

The quakes tore down several stone houses, schools, as well as the belfry of Itbayat's historic Santa Maria de Mayan church.

Itbayat Mayor Raul de Sagon has called for immediate assistance after more than 2,000 people fled their homes.