CEBU CITY, Oct. 17 -- President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday inspected the Provincial Capitol, Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino and a public market that were damaged by the powerful earthquake that hit several areas in Visayas and Mindanao Tuesday.
The President arrived at the Central Command Headquarters in Lahug City at 1:40 p.m. on board the Presidential chopper along with several Cabinet secretaries including Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Transportation and Communications Secretary Jun Abaya, Secretary Ramon Carandang and Secretary to the Cabinet Rene Almendras.
Upon arrival, President Aquino was welcomed by Vice Governor Agnes Magpale and Representative Raul del Mar.
The President came here from a two-hour inspection in Bohol, which was the worst affected by the 7.2 magnitude quake.
President Aquino first visited the Provincial Capitol, checked the building interiors where he saw huge cracks on the walls and inspected some rooms.
He also inspected a nearby Legislative Building where he saw cracked walls and floors. The office of Vice Governor Magpale was also not spared from the damage of the quake as some portions of the room collapsed.
The President then proceeded to the Sto. Nino Basilica Church, which was also damaged in the tremors. The limestone bell tower of the historical church fell while other parts of church crumbled. The right portion of the main entrance of the Philippine's oldest church collapsed, its gate heavily damaged.
The President stayed outside the Basilica for about 15 minutes talking to some priests and local officials and inspecting debris from the church. He then went inside the church and inspected the area where the century-old image of the Sto. Nino is found.
Around 4 p.m., the President then visited a public market in Mandaue where one person was killed after a portion of the market collapsed.
Some schools, shopping malls, buildings and other establishments also sustained damages due to the strong quake that recorded hundreds of aftershocks until Wednesday morning.
The President met with the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council and several local officials here and was briefed regarding the extent of the damage of the quake in the province.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported that at least 107 people were killed due the quake: 97 people died in Bohol, nine in Cebu and one in Siquijor.
At least 276 people, meanwhile, were injured: 166 from Bohol, 106 from Cebu, three from Siquijor and one from Negros Oriental.
Authorities still expect the death toll to rise as some affected areas remained inaccessible to vehicles.
Malacanang earlier assured that assistance will be provided to those affected and displaced by the quake. (www.pcoo.gov.ph/PND/jb)