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Senate building shuts down; employees ordered to go home

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By Vanne Terrazola

The Senate was forced to go on shutdown late Monday afternoon after a strong earthquake rocked Metro Manila and other provinces.

Employees and guests of the Senate calmly left the building in Pasay City when the shaking of the building was felt past 5 p.m.

It was later announced that the employees could go home as ordered by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, who is in charge while Senate President Vicente Sotto III is abroad.

Work in the Senate offices has also been cancelled tomorrow, the Senate official also announced.

“Will wait for advice from Office of the Sergeant at Arms (OSAA) when best to report back to work,” Recto said.

Employees were not allowed to return inside the building. Entrances to the building were closed.

The OSSA and other officials have also decided to implement a power shut off in the building.

They plan to conduct an inspection tomorrow, to check the condition of the building which the Senate has been renting from the GSIS since 1996.

“I received reports that there are cracks in the building. [I] Have instructed everyone to go home and only to report back to work when OSAA determines it is safe to do so,” Recto said in a text message.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reported that a magnitude 6.1 earthquake hit Castillejos, Zambales at 5:11 p.m. Monday.

The epicenter of the earthquake, which was tectonic in origin, was traced 18 kilometers northeast of Castillejos. The quake had a depth of 21 kilometers, Phivolcs reported.

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