Pounded by quakes, Davao del Sur government appeals for aid

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 17 2019 03:09 PM | Updated as of Dec 17 2019 06:21 PM

Rescuers search for survivors of a collapsed building after a 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck Padada, Davao del Sur, Dec. 16, 2019. Ferdinandh Cabrera, AFP

MANILA - Davao del Sur Rep. Mercedes Cagas wept before the Commission on Appointments, Tuesday, as she appealed for help for her quake-hit province that is bracing for "The Big One" in Mindanao.

According to state geologists, Digos City will be most affected by the "Big One," but Davao del Sur's calamity fund has been exhausted, said Rep. Cagas, who is married to Davao del Sur Gov. Douglas Cagas.

"It's not like a typhoon that we can prepare for. This earthquake will come anytime. We cannot predict when and how strong is the quake," Cagas told reporters, citing information from PHIVOLCS.

The threat of a powerful tremor comes after a spate of deadly quakes jolted parts of Mindanao in the last quarter of 2019.

TRAUMATIZED

People, including government officials, have been "traumatized," Cagas said.

"People are no longer sleeping inside their houses. Sirang-sira ang mga bahay nila," the lawmaker said.

"Ganitong calamity, walang pinipili. Maski presidente ka o governor ka, lahat kami wasak ang bahay," she said.

"The governor is no longer sleeping inside our house, but we are using the tent outside."

Provincial officials are set to have a meeting Wednesday, to plot "safe" zones where Mindanaoans could evacuate should another temblor strike the region.

The Department of Agriculture has committed to help restore damaged farm to market roads, Cagas said.

Seedlings will also be given to farmers who lost their crop, Agriculture Sec. William Dar said.

"Kung naapektuhan at gustong magtanim ulit, merong available na palay, corn vegetables. Pwede din yung livelihood [assistance], titingnan natin," he said.

The recent 6.9-magnitude quake that jolted Mindanao over the weekend left at least 7 dead after it generated some 700 aftershocks and toppled some 31 schools.