Quake forces 1.9-million students to skip classes

Some 1.9-million students in Mindanao have been forced to stay off their classes indefinitely following the 6.3 earthquake that rumbled Wednesday underneath three regions in Mindanao, the Department of Education said Friday.

READ: 5 dead in Mindanao quake

DepEd’s announcement coincided with at least five light to moderate aftershocks continuing to rock the area, where five people were left dead and dozens injured.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology reported that a 4.5-magnitude aftershock struck Tulunan in North Cotabato at 1:50 a.m. Friday.

READ: 6.3-quake jolts North Cotabato

Earlier, a 4.8-magnitude aftershock took place at 11:05 p.m. Thursday.

Intensity 4, which may feel like the passing of a heavy truck and cause hanging objects to swing considerably, was recorded in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato.

Another two aftershocks, measuring 4.7 and 5.2 in magnitude, were also recorded on Thursday at 9:53 a.m. and 2:18 p.m.

A 4-magnitude aftershock also occurred at 9:24 p.m. Wednesday, hours after the shock of the 6.3-magnitude tremor.

PHIVOLCS director Renato Solidum earlier warned residents in Mindanao to be on the lookout for possible landslides.

In an update released by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council executive director Ricardo Jalad, three of the deaths were from Magsaysay town, Davao Del Sur, while M’lang, Cotabato and Datu Paglas, Maguindanao, had one each.

Magsaysay Mayor Arthur Davin, whose town is now under a state of calamity, said the local officials would use the calamity funds to secure food and other basic needs for evacuees.

A state of calamity will allow local officials to tap emergency funds.

Meanwhile, 89 were reported injured in Davao Region, SOCCSKSARGEN and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.

Also, 144 infrastructures were reported damaged in Regions 11 and 12, as well as the BARMM.

A total 613 families or 3,068 persons were affected by the earthquake in Region 11 and 12.

“Affected families in Region 12 were evacuated after the earthquake. Said families returned to their homes on 17 October 2019. Meanwhile, affected families in Region 11 are staying with their relatives and/ or friends,” the agency added. 

Meanwhile, a party-list lawmaker expressed sympathy to families who lost loved ones in the earthquake.

“We mourn for the death and destruction brought about by this tragedy. We pray to Allah for the souls of the departed be granted peace and may the families they’ve left behind be comforted,” Anak Mindanao Rep. Amihilda Sangcopan said.

Since Wednesday night to early Thursday, aftershocks continued to rattle some parts of Mindanao. 

Sangcopan, vice chairperson of the House committee on economic affairs, also urged government officials, particularly in Mindanao, to intensify their disaster preparedness and mitigation measures by staging more information-drive and outreach education programs to communities and schools in their respective districts. 

PHIVOLCS said the quake’s epicenter was placed somewhere in the municipality of Tulunan, North Cotabato and was strongly felt in other nearby municipalities such as M’lang and Kidapawan City.

“The country is susceptible to all sorts of calamities—heavy floods, strong winds, monster typhoons, and strong earthquakes. By intensifying the campaign about disaster preparedness to the public, I believe it will significantly lower the risks brought about by disasters,” she said

She added that governments are duty-bound to continuously find ways to reduce disaster risks and mitigate its impact both at the individual and community levels.

In Toril, Davao, residents left their homes after allegedly hearing of tsunami warning in the coastal areas. Authorities, however, allayed their fears and told residents that the possibility of a tsunami is mere speculation.

 Sangcopan also suggested that fire and earthquake drills be observed on a regular basis in schools and offices. Implementation of flood control measures, tree planting, and solid waste management as part of the mitigation plan should also be laid out.

She added the public should also be reminded that disaster preparedness is a shared responsibility between governments—local and national—and of the people. 

“Disaster-consciousness shouldn’t just be recalled when it strikes. It should be carried out and observed every day for in the face of tragedies, we only have ourselves to rely on,” she said. With PNA

Topics: earthquake , Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology , Department of Education
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