MANILA -- The government continues to mobilize its resources to assist the victims of the twin earthquakes that hit Batanes on Saturday.
In a statement released Sunday, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the government is working to ensure medical services will be available to those injured and displaced by the earthquakes.
"The government's priority now is to ensure that those injured in the earthquake, as well as the families displaced by it, are given adequate medical care. Department of Health (DOH) Secretary (Francisco) Duque (III) reports that government health assets in Batanes have already been mobilized to tend to the injured and more help is on the way," he said.
He also said that Itbayat District Hospital, which suffered minimal cracks, is still fully functional and would be able to attend to individuals reportedly injured in the quake.
"Given the state of structures on the island and the possible damage that can be caused by aftershocks, hundreds of families have been advised not to return to their homes in the meantime," Nograles added.
The government will be distributing tents, water, hygiene kits and medicines to affected families. Medical teams and mental health teams will likewise be deployed to the area.
"Hindi po natin pababayaan ang mga nabiktima po ng lindol na ito. Naka-standby na po ang provincial DOH office, at kahit po ang tatlong DOH hospitals sa Region 2, handa na rin tumulong sa mga kababayan natin sa Batanes," Nograles said.
On Saturday, two earthquakes in the magnitude-5 range hit the northern islands. The first one registered at 5.4 struck at 4:16 a.m. at a depth of 12 kilometers northeast of Itbayat town.
Three hours later, a second one at magnitude-5.9 struck at about 19 kilometers off Itbayat.
At least 5 villages in Itbayat islands were the hardest hit, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. Most of the residents in the said area are currently seeking shelter at public markets.