(Bloomberg) -- President Rodrigo Duterte visited the northern Philippine province of Batanes on Sunday, a day after earthquakes struck the region and killed at least eight people including a newborn.
Duterte conducted an aerial inspection of the damage and ordered authorities to ensure supplies are provided to victims, the Manila Bulletin said on its Twitter account. He pledged 40 million pesos ($783,000) to the province, after his spokesman Salvador Panelo said early Sunday that the president will initiate “the rebuilding of one of the most treasured destinations in the country.”
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.
Duterte also asked the coast guard to patrol Batanes and proposed expanding its runway, the Manila Bulletin said.
Houses in Batanes, at the northern tip of the Philippines and less than 400 kilometers away from Taiwan, are made of meter-thick walls of cobblestone and limestone designed to withstand strong typhoons. There are more than 17,200 people in the province, according to the statistics agency’s 2015 data, and they rely mostly on agriculture for a living.
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.
(Corrects conversion of 40 million pesos in 2nd paragraph.)
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