Researchers from Silliman University in Dumaguete City estimated damage from the 6.9 magnitude earthquake, that hit six towns in Negros Oriental in February 2012, at P2.3 billion.


The figure is more than six times the early estimates by the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council and double those quoted in an action plan for rehabilitation and recovery prepared by the Negros Oriental provincial government and endorsed to the national government, Celia Acedo said in a write-up posted on the SU website.

Government reports on the loss of property in the wake of disasters are “lamentably incomplete and inaccurate” because they focus only on direct physical damage to infrastructure (roads, bridges, agricultural facilities), the report said.

“The effects on the business operations as well as on the income of the people especially (the farmers and fishermen) are frequently ignored,” Assistant Prof. Wilma Tejero, chairperson of the Economics Department of the College of Business Administration, and research leader, said in a paper read at a forum last month.

The 6.9-magnitude earthquake of tectonic origin shook Guihulngan, La Libertad, Jimalalud, Tayasan, Ayungon and Bindoy in the northern part of Negros Oriental on Feb. 6, 2012.

Government reports said the quake left 59 persons dead, 55 missing, and 197,000 persons affected. A total of 37,000 houses were destroyed or damaged, many roads cracked, and 14 bridges damaged, three of those rendered impassable. Communication and power lines were also affected.

Early reports of the NDRRMC placed the damage at only P382 million. The action plan for rehabilitation and recovery prepared by the provincial government placed the damage at P1.17 billion.

The Silliman researchers, who visited the areas one year after the disaster, reported that in their assessment, the most heavily affected sectors were housing, that sustained a loss of P742 million; agriculture, including damage to crops and agri-infrastructure, P306 million; school buildings and facilities, P125 million; hospitals and health centers, P35.6 million; and value of foregone productive life, P16 million.

The report also said that the sector that bore the biggest brunt of the devastation was the marginalized farmers in the upland areas that lost P58.65 million in terms of rice and corn production (824 hectares of rice land and 1,366 hectares of corn farm.

The farm owners and workers of Guihulngan (P19.5 million) and Ayungon (P15.2 million) were hardest hit. The combined losses of La Libertad, Jimalalud and Tayasan totaled P23 million.

The other researchers are Andrea Soluta, Mirabelle Engcoy, Roy Olsen de Leon, Silvestre Alforque, Betty Jane Martinez, Ma. Stella Lezama, and Tabitha Tinagan.

The study aimed to provide comprehensive information to help government prepare a more effective and efficient risk reduction and mitigation program, and was funded by the Philippine Higher Education Research Network of the Commission on Higher Education, that has given Silliman P30 million for faculty research for three years. It was one of six studies completed at Silliman in the first year of the grant.*JFP