Duterte to visit quake-hit Philippine region as tremors continue

The government's disaster risk-monitoring agency recorded about 180 aftershocks following 5.4 and 5.9 magnitude temblors in the town of Itbayat on July 27 that left 63 people injured.
The government's disaster risk-monitoring agency recorded about 180 aftershocks following 5.4 and 5.9 magnitude temblors in the town of Itbayat on July 27 that left 63 people injured.PHOTO: AFP

MANILA (BLOOMBERG) - President Rodrigo Duterte will visit the northern Philippine province of Batanes on Sunday (July 28), a day after earthquakes struck the region and killed at least eight people including a newborn.

President Duterte will "assess the damage in the province and initiate the rebuilding of one of the most treasured destinations in the country", his spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

The government's disaster risk-monitoring agency has recorded about 180 aftershocks following early Saturday's 5.4 and 5.9 magnitude temblors in the town of Itbayat that left 63 people injured.

One person is missing, while nearly 3,000 are staying at a public market after more than a dozen houses, two health facilities and two schools were damaged, the agency said on its website.

Houses in Batanes, at the northern tip of the Philippines and less than 400km away from Taiwan, are made of metre-thick walls of cobblestone and limestone designed to withstand strong typhoons. The Inquirer showed video footage of damage at a historic church and homes on its website.

Located along the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippines is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. In 2013, a 7.2 magnitude quake hit Bohol province and areas in central Philippines, killing more than 200 people and affecting 600,000 families.