No casualties, damage reported in Cebu, Bohol, Negros

AS OF yesterday, there were no reports of casualties or damage to properties in Cebu City and Cebu Province after a 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck last Friday night, according to a report from Office of Civil Defense (OCD) 7.

It was the same in Bohol, Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental, said Nelmar Tongzon, OCD 7’s operation assistant.

“We called every local government unit and different agencies to ask if there were damages in their areas after the earthquake occurred and it was negative,” Tongzon said.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, who went around the city after the earthquake, also said everything was calm, including the water off the coast.

Rama said he was grateful the Cebuanos didn’t react the same way they reacted during the earthquake last February, where thousands panicked because of a tsunami scare.

Command center

The mayor also said last Friday’s quake was an eye-opener, especially for the City Council, which scratched his budget to establish a command center.

“Sad to say that our council didn’t think about what is going to happen and we just wish that nothing will happen from now on and in the days to come,” Rama said.

The command center was among the items proposed by the mayor that the council did not approve when it passed the P5.2-billion operating budget for 2012.

The Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (LDRRMC), though, also included a budget for a command center in its P157.5-million calamity fund for this year, but the council has yet to approve the proposed breakdown of the fund.

LDRRMC Chief Cathy Yso said they will pursue the establishment of a command center, which will be equipped with communication gadgets.

“Amo lang i-comply ang gipangayo nga mga documents sa (We will submit the documents required by the) City Council for the approval of the breakdown of the calamity fund,” Yso said.

She said the command center, which will be set up in Barangay Mambaling, will be the center of communication in the city in case of disasters.

Rama had said President Benigno Aquino III asked him for a list of what the City needed to respond to a disaster.

He said he would follow this up so they can set up a command center as soon as possible.

Last Friday’s quake was considered the strongest to hit the country in the last two decades.

For more local stories, visit www.sunstar.com.ph

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