MANILA – Malacañang on Wednesday reminded Masbate residents affected by the 6.6-magnitude earthquake to observe social distancing in evacuation centers even though the province has relatively few cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Masbate residents should remain vigilant against the Covid-19 threat, especially in crowded places, such as temporary shelters.
“One thing going for Masbate is they have very low cases of Covid-19 but nonetheless, they should not be too complacent. Even if they will be staying in temporary shelters, they have to observe social distancing,” Roque said in an interview with CNN Philippines.
He said there would be “manpower” to ensure that even in temporary evacuation areas, social distancing would be implemented.
As of Tuesday, Masbate had a total of 114 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 61 recoveries and zero deaths.
Roque also assured that necessary assistance would be given to all displaced Masbate residents.
“I’d like to assure our Masbateño brothers and sisters that help has been prepositioned and further assistance is on the way. We’re talking about food packs, we’re talking about water, we’re talking about blankets, we’re talking about things that they would need in resettlement areas,” he said.
“We have a direct line already with the governor, as well as the mayor of Cataingan so the coordination effort to deliver what is needed by the residents of Cataingan is in full blast.”
Meanwhile, Roque said he does not know whether President Rodrigo Duterte would be able to visit the quake victims given restrictions on his movement.
“The President would want to go. I don’t know if he can actually go because of restrictions in his movement right now but whatever help that Masbate needs is forthcoming,” he said.
Earlier, Roque said Duterte’s possible visit to Masbate would depend on whether his close-in security would allow him to push through.
“Siguradong-sigurado po ako na gusto ni Presidente pumunta at siguro po makikipag-away pa ‘yan sa (Presidential Security Group) kung talagang siya’y pipigilan (I am very sure that the President wants to go and perhaps, he would even argue with PSG if he would be prohibited),” he said in a virtual Palace briefing on Tuesday.
On Tuesday morning, a retired police colonel and more than 40 others were injured when a magnitude 6.6 earthquake rocked the town of Cataingan in Masbate.
Reports showed that several houses collapsed, power lines were toppled, and roads and infrastructure were damaged. Azer Parrocha / PNA – northboundasia.com