DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The New People’s Army in Northeastern Mindano declared a unilateral ceasefire in Surigao del Norte and Agusan del Norte following the severe damage brought by the 6.7 intensity earthquake on Friday night, Feb. 10.
In a statement, Ariel Montero, NPA regional spokesman said the temporary ceasefire covers the areas of the NPA’s Front 16. The ceasefire started on Saturday and will end at 11:55 pm on February 20.
“This ceasefire is being declared to give the Red fighters of the NPA in Front 16, all government agencies, including the police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and non-government organizations, the opportunity to inspect the areas affected, especially the mountain areas, for damages resulting from the earthquake,” said Montero.
Montero added they hope the ceasefire will help in the delivery of immediate aid and rehabilitation of the properties and livelihood of the affected residents.
“On our part, the NPA in Front 16 has been on active defense posture since 6:00 am of February 11, 2017 to assess and help the masses in the far-flung areas affected by the earthquake,” Montero said.
“We hope that this ceasefire declaration will be reciprocated by the 30th IBPA and other concerned AFP troops and the Philippine National Police in Surigao del Norte,” he added.
According to the Surigao del Norte, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, the earthquake which occurred at 10:03 pm claimed at least eight lives and more than a hundred were injured.
As of 4:00 pm on Saturday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology recorded 101 aftershocks.
“Based on preliminary intensity reports, the strongest ground shaking was felt at PHIVOLCS Earthquake Intensity Scale (PEIS) VII (Destructive) in Surigao City,” Phivolcs said in its website.
Municipalities of Pintuyan in Southern Leyte, and San Francisco and Malimono in Surigao del Norte also experienced PEIS VI or very strong ground shaking at PEIS VI, while the municipalities of Mainit and Placer in Surigao Del Norte, Libjo and San Jose in Dinagat Island, San Ricardo, Limasawa and San Francisco in Southern Leyte and Mandaue City felt the shaking at PEIS V or strong ground shaking.
President Rodrigo Duterte visited Surigao City on Friday evening and promised P2 billion for rehabilitation.
The Eastern Mindanao Command also directed all Disaster Response Unit to assist in Surigao City.
“At present troops under 402nd Infantry Brigade were deployed in the area as initial response in the disaster. Being the lead agency in Search Rescue and Retrieval (SRR) which falls under the thematic Area Disaster Response, the command directed all unit commanders involved in SRR to coordinate with different Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council for synchronization of effort and initiatives,” said Major Ezra Balagtey, Public Information Officer of Eastmincom.(davaotoday.com)