A DEPARTMENT of Public Works and Highways heavy equipment clears a blocked section of the Baguio-Bontoc road along Mt. Data cliff. — DPWH-CORDILLERA ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

DAMAGE to public and private infrastructure from the magnitude 7 earthquake in northwestern Luzon on July 27 has reached more than P1.59 billion, based on the national disaster councils report as of Sunday.   

Most of the damage were recorded in school buildings, roads, and public health facilities, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (NDRRMC) collated information.   

The Education department reported 427 affected schools as of last week, mostly in the Cordillera Administrative Region composed of the provinces of Abra, the tremors epicenter, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province, and the independent city of Baguio.  

Of the 170 road sections and 11 bridges affected, only one remains impassabale, a section of the Baguio-Bontoc road along Mt. Data cliff, according to the Department of Public Works and Highwaysregional office.  

Clearing operation is still on-going with blasting to resume when needed,the agency said in a Facebook post on Sunday.

Blasting operations are needed to break down huge rock materials that are blocking the road following a landslide triggered by the earthquake, it said. 

In agriculture, damage estimate has climbed to P287 million, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).   

Damage and losses have been reported primarily in the regions of Cordillera and Ilocos. 

These include irrigation systems, farm-to-market roads, farm structures, fisheries, livestock and poultry.   

“No damage and losses on crops have been reported as of this time,” the department said.   

According to the latest DA bulletin, a total of 120 agricultural infrastructures were damaged due to landslides and cracks on concrete. These include 90 irrigation systems, six farm-to-market roads, and 24 farm structures.  

Losses were also reported in livestock and poultry with a total of 129 animal heads that were either buried alive or had premature delivery.  

Meanwhile, the National Irrigation Administration reported two national irrigation systems (NIS) and 24 communal irrigation systems (CIS) damaged in Cordillera, as well as 4 NIS and 24 CIS damaged in Ilocos.  

Furthermore, no damage was reported in Pantabangan and Magat dam based on initial assessment,the agency added.  

The DA is providing assistance to affected farmers and fishers, which includes 126,045 bags of rice seeds, 20,454 bags of corn seeds and 3,379 kilograms of assorted vegetable seeds in the regions of Cordillera, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, and Central Luzon.  

Vitamins, antibiotics, vaccines, and de-wormers will also be available for livestock and poultry in Cagayan Valley.  

DA said it will also fast-track the release of fuel subsidy and Rice Farmers Financial Assistance to affected regions and pull funds from the Agricultural Credit Policy Council and Quick Response Fund for the rehabilitation of affected areas.  

The number of confirmed dead has increased to 11 from 10 last week, while 574 were injured, the NDRRMC reported.  

The number of people affected has also gone up to more than half a million following continued validation. Of the 502,462 affected, over 10% have been displaced, although majority are staying outside evacuation centers.  

Totally destroyed private houses were 628 while 34,699 were partially damaged.  

NDRRMC said almost P120 million worth of assistance mostly from the national and local governments along with donated goods —   had been distributed, including food packs and temporary shelter materials. Marifi S. Jara and Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson