No reports yet of Pinoys affected by Chile quake

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 27 2010 06:52 PM | Updated as of Feb 28 2010 05:59 AM

MANILA, Philippines (1st UPDATE) – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has yet to receive reports on the situation of Filipinos in the quake-hit country of Chile.

“At this time, what we can say is that there is so far no reported injury of any Filipino there and our embassy staff members are all fine,” DFA Spokesman Ed Malaya said.

Malaya said there are about 89 Filipinos who are based in the capital city of Santiago.

“It would be fairly easy to be able to get in touch with them. I am sure that within the course of the day, we would be getting a full report from the embassy, although the electricity and power is down. There's some difficulty in communications,” Malaya said.

The DFA spokesman earlier told abs-cbnNEWS that they were able to communicate with Minister Narciso Castañeda of the Philippine post in Chile.

“He reported that Ambassador [Maria Consuelo] Puyat Reyes and the rest of the embassy staff members are safe,” Malaya said.

Chile was struck by a magnitude 8.8 earthquake that left more than a dozen people dead.

“His residence sustained some damage, but otherwise no one was hurt among them. Electricity is down in his district of the capital city of Santiago,” said Malaya.

The quake’s epicenter was located near the city of Concepcion, 212 miles (341 kilometers) from the capital of Santiago. The quake struck at 3:34 a.m. (1:34 a.m. ET). Concepcion is Chile's second largest city with a population of 200,000.

He said DFA has contingency plans in place in case of calamities. “For us, it’s a matter of execution of those plans.”

A telephone brigade and evacuation points are among the DFA’s contingency plans. The phone brigade would call Filipino community leaders, who will in turn get in touch with members in their area.

“In our plans, there will be things like evacuation points and where to go and how to proceed there. But given what we've been hearing so far, we do not think this situation would be that problematic,” he said.

The DFA, Malaya said, is also trying to get information about the situation of Filipinos in Okinawa, Japan after a 7.3 magnitude earthquake occurred Saturday morning.

“So far were trying to get information about that and once we get that we will be communicating with media,” he said. -- With ANC’s Prime News, CNN and Reuters