North Luzon gets P3.4M quake aid

MANILA — The Canadian government is providing 80,000 Canadian dollars (approximately P3.4 million) in humanitarian aid for the victims of the magnitude 7 earthquake in Northern Luzon last month.

The Canadian Embassy in Manila Friday said the aid would fund food packs, shelters, water, and hygiene support, among others.

Of the total, P2.2 million will go to the Cordillera Disaster Response and Development Services to supply food packs for Abra.

CorDisRDS would likewise provide psychological first aid assessments.

The embassy said activities would be coordinated with local government units and humanitarian organizations.

The remaining P1.2 million, to be coursed through the Philippine Red Cross, would provide affected individuals assistance in the form of food, health, shelter, protection and water, and sanitation and hygiene support.

The magnitude 7 earthquake shook several provinces in northwestern Luzon, adjacent areas, and Metro Manila on 27 July, damaging structures and killing 11.

Meanwhile, the government is ready to assist in repairing heritage structures, including churches that were damaged by the magnitude 7 earthquake that jolted Northern Luzon last month.

National Commission for Culture and the Arts chairperson Rene Escalante, who visited areas affected by the earthquake this week, said some of the edifices are located in the provinces of Abra, Ilocos Sur, and Ilocos Norte.

He said the national government will only concentrate on “big ticket restoration works.”

Among the structures that they are looking at in Ilocos Sur are the Vigan Cathedral, the Bantay Church and its iconic bell tower, and parish churches in the towns of San Esteban, Candon, and Santa Maria.

“These will be submitted as the priority projects of the national government,” said Escalante in a report by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines news website on Friday.

At the same time, Escalante said they are finalizing the list of structures that the government will restore.

He added that they are also looking to ask for assistance from international agencies, to augment the financial aid to be given by the government.

Currently, the NCCA head reported that the structures are undergoing detailed engineering studies to further assess the damages and know the restoration needed.

“We are behind your desire to restore these heritage structures… let us rebuild better,” Escalante said.

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