DEATH caused by the 7.0 Lagangilang earthquake last July 27 climbed to nine after the four bodies of residents buried in a road landslide in Kayadakkad, Luba, Abra were recovered Friday afternoon.

Using six backhoes, rescuers were able to recover the bodies of Louie Balais Dining, 21 years old; Jack Balais Gamengan, 17; Angelo Agamang Badi, 15, and Marcos Barayro. 

Another casualty from Abra was identified as Jonalyn Bilan Siganay, 23, who died when the wall of the house in Bangued town where she was a boarder hit her head. 

The first to be reported was 28-year-old construction worker Aaron Col-iteng who was killed when the building they were constructing in Buyagan, La Trinidad collapsed where he was pinned in the basement. 

Thirty-two-year-old Resty Tavas was killed when part of a mountain in Taloy Sur, Tuba, Benguet fell on him. 

Jefferson Basar, a 24-year-old worker from Tandang Sora, Quezon City who was setting up a rock-netting project on a slope in Balbalan, Kalinga, was struck by a boulder that fell during the earthquake. He was brought to the hospital but died on the way. Six of his co-workers were likewise injured. 

Andres Sagayo, a 58-year-old man from Bauko, Mountain Province had just attended the wake of his relative when he, too, was buried in a landslide during the temblor. 

The Office of Civil Defense in the Cordillera has also recorded more than 100 injured throughout the region. 

Almost  7,700 families or 36,972 individuals were affected by the earthquake in six provinces, 88 municipalities, and 167 barangays in the Cordillera region.

Records of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Office-Cordillera Administrative Region (DSWD-CAR) as of 6:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 28, said 984 families or 3,405 individuals remain in 21 evacuation centers, most of them in Abra which bore the brunt of the earthquake.


Major earthquake

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology classified the earthquake that hit at 08:43 AM Philippine Standard Time (PST) on July 27 as a major earthquake, measured at 7.0 that shook the provinces in northwestern Luzon and adjacent areas including Metro Manila. The temblor reportedly lasted for thirty seconds. 

“The earthquake has an epicenter located 17.64°N, 120.63°E – 003 km N 45° W of Tayum (Abra) and a depth of 17 kilometers. As of 3:00 P.M., July 27, 2022, 254 aftershocks ranging from M 1.5 to M 4.7 were recorded, 48 of which were plotted, and 11 were felt,” Philvolcs said. 

It said that the earthquake might have been caused by the northern segments of the Philippine Fault, Abra River Fault, West Ilocos Fault System, and Naglibacan Fault. 

“There are other nearby local faults, some of which may now be covered by recent deposits, and offshore active faults that are potential sources of minor to strong earthquakes,” it said. 

Phivolcs initially said that the quake had a maximum strength of 7.3Mw but reduced it to 7.0 two hours later. 

Baguio was said to have felt the temblor at 6.8 Mw. 

OCD Cordillera has recorded 16 landslides, two rockfall incidents, a collapsed rip-rap, three falling incidents, and two collapsed structures.

The Department of Tourism-Cordillera said damage was reported in tourist destinations in Abra, among them the Sta. Catalina de Alexandria Church, a 19th-century baroque church declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines in 2001; and the San Lorenzo Ruiz Shrine, a centuries-old church completed in 1803 in the capital town of Bangued. 

The shrine is a national cultural treasure and the oldest and largest in the Cordillera Region.

Owners of the Gabriela Silang Museum in Tayum, Abra said that the museum will be permanently closed.


Closed roads

As of Friday afternoon, the following roads remained closed, according to the DPWH:

BAGUIO – BONTOC Road: particularly at Mt. Data Cliff, K0347+090 – K0347+180. One lane passable at K0384+000, Alab Section, K0367+200, K0367+250, Bun-ayan section, K0368+600, Pingew Section, K0348+000, Lukib Section & one Section of Mt. Data Cliff, K0347+090 – K0347+180.

Mt. Province – Ilocos Sur via Tue in Tadian. Closed at K0390+000, Calacaban Section while one lane passable at K0403+150, K0403+400, K0403+500, K0414+500, Balaoa to Aluling Bndry.

Mt. Prov.-Cagayan via Tabuk – Enrile Rd at K0394+100, Chek-a / Khesat Section 

Mt. Province – Nueva Vizcaya road. One lane passable


Damaged schools

Based on a report from the DepEd-Cordillera Administrative Region (DepEd-CAR), 254 classrooms were totally damaged, with 218 of them in Abra, as of 10:03 p.m. on July 28.

A total of 483 classrooms suffered major damage, 403 of which were in Abra. Meanwhile, 833 classrooms in the region had minor damage.

This brings to 1,570 the total number of classrooms damaged with varying degrees by the quake in the region.

“Progressing ang data kasi ongoing pa ang assessments na ginagawa sa schools (the data is progressing because the assessments at the schools are still ongoing),” Cyrille Gaye Miranda of the DepEd-CAR public affairs office said in a private message on Facebook.

Authorities have yet to determine the damage cost.

Infra damage 

The cost of damage sustained by roads and bridges due to the earthquake that hit Northern Luzon has reached nearly P400 million, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said on Friday.

In its monitoring as of 6:00 a.m July 29, the DPWH said the partial cost of damage to road infrastructure was recorded at P396.58 million.

Broken down, the damage covers P104.53 million for national roads and P292.05 million for national bridges in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Regions I, and II.