By Zea C. Capistrano, Malu Manar, Camcer Ordonez Imam, and MB Online
DAVAO CITY – A 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit North Cotabato province on Wednesday night, October 16.
In its bulletin, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) recorded the earthquake at 7:37 pm. The earthquake’s epicenter was plotted at 23 kilometers southwest of Makilala in North Cotabato.
Intensity VII was recorded in the towns of Tulunan, M’lang and the City of Kidapawan in North Cotabato province; Intensity VI was recorded in Tacurong City; Intensity V in the towns of Kalamansig, Lebak and Palimbang in Sultan Kudarat, Tupi, Polomolok, Alabel and Sarangani in South Cotabato and in Pikit and Pres. Roxas in North Cotabato. Meanwhile, the tremor was felt as Intensity IV in Cotabato City, Sultan Kudarat, Matanog,and Barira in Maguindanao Province and in Kiamba, Sarangani, T’Boli, all in South Cotabato and General Santos City; Intensity III in Cagayan de Oro City, Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental and Intensity I in Dipolog City and Bislig City.
Four aftershocks were recorded following the 6.3-magnitude quake.
After an hour, another quake with 4.0-magnitude was recorded 16 kilometers southeast of Columbio town in Sultan Kudarat.
Strongest quake in Kidapawan City
The latest earthquake was the strongest quake so far which hit Kidapawan City. As a result, the arch, which marks the boundary of Kidapawan and Makilala, was fully damaged.
Patients of Kidapawan Doctors Hospital were also evacuated following the earthquake.
Kidapawan City Mayor Joseph Evangelista has ordered the suspension of classes in all levels, both in private and public schools, to ensure safety of students, faculty, and staff while the Disaster Risk and Reduction Management checks the integrity of all structures tomorrow (Oct 17, 2019).
Classes disruptions, more evacuations
Classes were disrupted in major universities in Davao region including the Ateneo de Davao University and University of Mindanao in Davao City and in Cor Jesu College in Digos City, where portions of the school buildings were badly damaged as seen in viral social media posts.
In Pala-o, Iligan City, occupants inside high-storey hotels rushed out of their units for safety. An alarm was also sounded around the city.
In General Santos City, a video showing portion of a mall on fire went viral after it was posted during the quake. There is no information yet on the cause of the mall fire.
Meanwhile, in Cagayan de Oro City, the earthquake interrupted the signing of the sisterhood agreement between Cagayan de Oro City and Imus, Cavite.
People rushed outside the hotel-venue and gathered outside the building for safety, along with the participating local chief executives and their staff and guests. Maricel Casiño, Cagayan de Oro City information officer, said: “The event was cut short by the (earthquake). Nanggawas tanan (We all rushed outside).”
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte canceled all classes from kindergarten to post-graduate studies on Thursday, October 17 and also tasked all school owners and personnel to conduct a safety inspection to ensure the structural integrity of their facilities.
Mayor Charles Federic Plotena of Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat also announced the suspension of classes in kindergarten, elementary and high school levels in both public and private schools.
The Provincial Government of North Cotabato announced on Wednesday evening the suspension of all classes in all schools in the province.
No tsunami warning
Meanwhile, the City Government of Davao clarified that there was no tsunami warning or alert that is in effect and advised the residents not to panic as there was no mandatory evacuation announced as of press time. (With reports from Martin Sadongdong, and Keith Bacongco)