Philippines

Prayer best weapon vs. quake: Duterte

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Prayer best weapon vs. quake: Duterte
By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – Following a series of earthquakes that struck some areas in Mindanao this month, President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said prayer would be everyone’s best weapon against a strong tremor.

Duterte made the statement in a chance interview in his hometown, Davao City, as he acknowledged that natural disasters cannot be predicted.

“Well, one is that nobody but nobody can prevent an earthquake to happen. There’s no… there’s no accurate prediction diyan (there). Walang ano diyan (You cannot tell) whether it would come or not,” the President said on the sidelines of his visit to the tomb of his departed parents at the Roman Catholic Public Cemetery in Davao City.

“Mag-dasal ka na lang, buti (It would be better if you pray),” he added, recalling what he had told his security aides who were worried for his safety when the strong quake was felt in his hometown.

Duterte said he was sleeping when a destructive quake shook parts of Mindanao, including Davao City, on Thursday morning.

A 6.5-magnitude earthquake was felt 33 kilometers east of Tulunan town in Cotabato province at around 9:11 a.m., Thursday, according to the bulletin released by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

Prior to this, two other powerful tremors were felt in Mindanao in just a span of one month.

The President said his house, which sustained several cracks in the walls and ceilings, would be inspected by the Presidential Security Group (PSG) on Friday to ensure his and his family’s safety.

“There are cracks as early as about three earthquakes ago. Every time it happens, may bagong crack (another crack becomes visible). Pero crack lang naman. Makita mo ng ano linya (But it’s just a crack and you’ll just notice a visible line),” he said.

“But anyway, sabi ng PSG (the PSG said), they are insisting that it will be inspected. Maybe tomorrow,” Duterte added.

Avoid going to buildings with ‘many cracks’

Duterte has already directed all concerned government agencies to render immediate assistance to the victims of the earthquake that destroyed several buildings and roads in the southern part of the country.

He advised the public to avoid going to buildings “with many cracks,” especially in this situation wherein Mindanao has been affected by a series of destructive earthquakes.

“Ang akin for those who are staying in buildings, structures that are not fit for human habitation, tingnan nilang mabuti (they should be cautious),” he said.

“If there are so many cracks and the cracks are really big…, [it is] an indication that it is already really an old structure or a structure which was built not in accordance with law. Kaya na-ano ito, madi-disgrasya (You are exposed to danger),” he added.

Earlier Thursday, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar assured the earthquake victims that the national government’s response teams from disaster risk management agencies are already “on top of the situation.” (PNA)

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