THE MINDANAO Development Authority (MiNDA) is spearheading the gathering of information to establish a database that will be used to make recommendations on the rehabilitation plan in areas affected by the October triple earthquakes in central Mindanao.

“With the support of local authorities, MinDA will also establish a database of all earthquake victims including the extent of damage they suffered from the disaster,” MinDA Chair Emmanuel F. Piñol said in a post on his social media page.

He identified the most affected areas as Kidapawan City, and the towns of Magpet, Tulunan and Makilala in Cotabato; and Magsaysay, Bansalan and Matanao in Davao del Sur.

Aside from the direct impact of the magnitude 6.4 earthquake on Oct. 16, 6.6 on Oct. 29, and 6.5 on Oct. 31, the tremors also triggered landslides in some areas at the foot of Mt. Apo.

“(T)he first drone-generated photos taken yesterday (Sunday) showed the extent of the damage and the mountain-side communities which may have to be abandoned because of landslides,” Mr. Piñol said.

Meanwhile, Adrian M. Tamayo, MinDA’s head of Public Relation Division, said they do not see the earthquakes’ aftermath significantly affecting the overall economic performance of Mindanao.

“On the economic side, given we are already on the last quarter of the year, using regular business cycle, this is the period of expansion due to expected rise in spending,” Mr. Tamayo, an economist and former executive director of the University of Mindanao Institute of Popular Opinion, said in an e-mail interview with BusinessWorld.

He added that sales of construction items is expected to increase with higher demand from the reconstruction work.

“By next year, the construction sector coupled with food and household consumption sectors are expected to play big roles in shaping regional growth,” he said. He noted that the database being put together by MinDA will help ensure a more efficient rehabilitation planning and implementation.

Mr. Tamayo also said that the positive investment climate, especially in affected major cities like Davao and General Santos, is not expected to be markedly dampened given the good response measures demonstrated by local governments. “Earthquakes are inevitable, and Mindanaoans will rise above these calamities, stronger and more united,” he said.

The death toll from the two earthquakes last week has gone up to 22 while 424 others have been reported injured, based on the Nov. 4 update from the national disaster management agency.

The two missing in a landslide on Oct. 29 in Davao del Sur have yet to be found.

Over 37,700 families have also been affected, with 4,800 staying in 34 evacuation centers.

As field assessment continues, damaged infrastructure has gone up to 29,453, majority of which are houses. A total of 21,072 homes have been reported as totally destroyed, while 7,271 are partially damaged. There are 26 totally damaged schools and 846 partially damaged. The other affected structures include health facilities, places of worship, other public infrastructure, and commercial establishments. — Maya M. Padillo