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Quake jolts Mindanao

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A magnitude-7.2 earthquake off Davao Occidental rattled Mindanao early yesterday morning. It is the third major earthquake to strike Mindanao in the last three months.

It occurred at 4:23 a.m. and was tectonic in origin. Its epicenter was traced 53 kilometers southwest of Sarangani, Davao Occidental with a depth of 57 kms.

Science and Technology Undersecretary and Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology officer-in-charge Renato Solidum said the earthquake was generated by a “submarine fault” in the area.

The earthquake was too shallow, thus, “strong” shaking at Intensity 5 was felt in General Santos City, Koronadal City, Santa Maria, Jose Abad Santos, Don Marcelino, and Balot Island in Davao Occidental; Polomolok and Tupi in South Cotabato; Alabel, Malapatan, and Glan in Sarangani; and Palimbag in Sultan Kudarat. An earthquake with this intensity is “generally felt by most people indoors and outdoors,” Phivolcs said.

It was felt as “moderately strong” or Intensity 4 quake in Davao City, Cotabato City, and Zamboanga City. An Intensity 4 tremor is felt “generally by people indoors and some people outdoors.”

It was felt at Intensity 3 or “weak tremor” in Cagayan de Oro City, and Intensity 2 or “slightly felt” shaking in Kidapawan City.

Phivolcs issued a tsunami advisory immediately after the quake warning the public for possible “unusual waves” which were expected between 4:28 a.m. and 5:23 a.m. yesterday. No tsunami occurred and Phivolcs cancelled the advisory a few hours later.

But seismologists warned the public that aftershocks are likely to occur.

Last February 10, a magnitude 6.7 earthquake shook Mindanao, followed by a magnitude 6 earthquake in Lanao del Sur last April 12.

Malacañang has appealed to the public to remain calm yet vigilant following the latest earthquake that rocked Mindanao. “We ask our people, particularly residents of Sarangani, to stay calm and yet remain vigilant and alert,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said that at least three persons were reportedly injured by the earthquake. “Initial report is that three were injured in Glan, Sarangani and we are still verifying the cause,” Mina Marasigan, NDRRMC spokesperson, said.

The Port of Glan was damaged by the earthquake. Its deck sustained a crack, the Department of Public Works and Highways said, and they have informed the local risk reduction management officials about the damage.

Damage was also reported in Pacman Viĺlage in Barangay Tango in Glan and Glan Municipal Hall.

The DPWH said that all national roads and bridges in Sarangani did not sustain major damages and are passable to all types of vehicles. (With Genalyn D. Kabiling, Francis T. Wakefield, and Betheena Kae Unite) (ELLALYN V. RUIZ)