President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Thursday ordered national agencies and local government heads to immediately restore water in Luzon areas struck by the Magnitude 7 earthquake.
Marcos flew to the epicenter of Wednesday's disaster, Abra, to inspect the damaged and huddle with local officials at the forefront of the response and relief efforts.
While power and communication lines in Abra have been restored in most areas, water supply remains a problem as underground water pipes were damaged, according to local officials.
"That's something that has to be restored immediately.... We have to put together a plan to restore the actual water systems," Marcos said.
According to the Office of Civil Defense, Abra needs 300,000 bottles of drinking water. Some 500 boxes of distilled water are expected to be delivered to the province within the day as a temporary measure.
Marcos said the local government should start repairing the broken water pipes. "We cannot be providing bottles of water for too long," he added.
Sen. Imee Marcos, who was also in the situation briefing, suggested a water purifier powered by solar energy to help provide clean drinking water for affected residents while repairs are underway.
"We found in Ilocos Norte that those are very helpful, you don't have the disposal of plastic and all the other issues that surround distilled water," the president's sister said.
"So perhaps the national government can begin to procure solar purifiers for this disaster. In the meantime, I'm sending one to Abra," she added.
Marcos also proposed the procurement of a water purifying system so that water-borne diseases like cholera and diphtheria would no longer spread in areas affected by the earthquake.
"We have to try everything. Pakuluan lang nang konti, just to make sure everything is safe," he said.
Aside from bottles of distilled water, Interior Sec. Benhur Abalos reported that the MMDA has delivered 10 water purifying machines to Abra to help address its water supply problem.
At least four individuals were killed while 131 others were injured following the Magnitude 7 earthquake that jolted Tayum, Abra on Wednesday morning, according to the latest update from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
Phivolcs warned that aftershocks may occur following the initial earthquake as it advised residents to ensure first the structural integrity of their homes before returning.