BANGKOK - Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana will lead relief efforts in earthquake-stricken parts of Mindanao, Executive Sec. Salvador Medialdea said Saturday.
Medialdea said Lorenzana was also tasked to ensure the safety of affected residents in the southern regions.
“I have tasked Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, as head of the Department of National Defense (DND) and Martial Law Administrator, to lead all relief efforts, and to ensure safety and security of the public in the earthquake-stricken areas of Mindanao,” Medialdea said.
Medialdea issued the directive on behalf of President Rodrigo Duterte, who is in Thailand as of this writing, to attend the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Bangkok.
“The public is advised to coordinate directly with the DND and/or National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to ensure the efficient conduct of relief efforts, including the distribution of relief goods and rescue operations,” Medialdea said.
Residents of Mindanao have been reeling from at least 3 powerful earthquakes that rocked southern provinces within 16 days last month.
A 6.3-magnitude, 6.6-magnitude and 6.5-magnitude tremor struck Tulunan town in North Cotabato on Oct. 16, Oct. 29 and Oct. 31 respectively.
Latest government figures showed 17 people, mostly from Cotabato, were killed in the Oct. 29 and 31 temblors. About 327 residents were injured, while 2 others remain missing, according the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council's situation report released Saturday.