By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz, Aaron Recuenco, and Jonas Reyes
A strong earthquake measuring 6.1-magnitude on the Richter scale struck during Monday’s afternoon rush hour in Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon, causing buildings to collapse or shake and sending people in high-rise buildings into panic.
As of press time Monday, at least five people died when a supermarket in Porac, Pampanga, collapsed. At least 50 others remained trapped in the collapsed structure.
According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), the 6.1-magnitude quake was felt at around 5:11 p.m. and originated 18 kilometers northeast of Castillejos, Zambales.
It was initially measured as a 5.7-magnitude quake. But the US Geological Survey measured it at 6.3 magnitude.
Phivolcs said the tremor was felt at Intensity 5 in San Felipe, Zambales; Malolos and Obando, Bulacan; Quezon City; Lipa, Batangas; Manila City; Abucay, Bataan; Valenzuela City; and Magalang, Pampanga.
An earthquake with this intensity is described as “strong” as it is “generally felt by most people indoors or outdoors.”
Intensity 4 was recorded in Pasig City; Makati City; Caloocan City; Meycauayan and San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan; Floridablanca, Pampanga; Villasis, Pangasinan; Tagaytay City; Baguio City; Marikina City; and Las Piñas City.
An Intensity 4 tremor is felt “generally by people indoors and some people outdoors.”
Meanwhile, Dasmariñas, Indang, and Gen. Trias, Cavite; Lucban, Quezon; Muntinlupa City, Cabanatuan City; Palayan City; Gapan City; Santo Domingo and Talavera, Nueva Ecija felt the earthquake at Intensity 3, as a “weak tremor.”
Baler, Aurora felt the earthquake at Intensity 2, as a “slight” shaking.
Phivolcs said the earthquake was tectonic in origin, which was caused by ground shaking primarily due to the sudden movement in the earth’s plates.
Likewise, the tremor was shallow at 12 kilometers deep thus the strong shaking.
In Porac, the Tiuson Supermarket collapsed sending shoppers into panic, killing at least five people and injuring several others, Pampanga Provincial Information Officer Joel Mapiles said. At least 50 others are still trapped in the collapsed structure.
RJ Magno, information officer of the National Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC), said all the casualties were pinned against concrete walls that collapsed due to the strong tremor.
“A portion of the wall of a supermarket collapsed. There were five reported casualties but this is still being validated,” said Magno.
Among the fatalities were reportedly an old woman and her granddaughter.
Extensive damage to Porac’s Bell Tower located in the Poblacion was also reported, Mapiles said.
In Binondo, Manila, one video clip showed water spilling from a rooftop of a condominium building after the breakage of its water tank.
The strong quake also sent occupants of buildings in busy commercial areas like the Ortigas Center in Pasig, Ayala Center in Makati, and other areas scampering out for safety.
There were also reports that one level of a building under construction at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig allegedly crushed.
The NDRRMC said there is no threat of tsunami, but aftershocks are expected. (With a report from Franco G. Regala)