Panic gripped residents in quake-hit areas in Mindanao as they were told to remain in open spaces or evacuation centers as tremors could still strike, disaster officials said Friday, even as another earthquake was recorded in Sarangani province.
The 69-year-old Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy, head of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ religious group based in Mindanao, claims he blurted out in Filipino when the third major shock was rumbling underneath the island three days ago”•told is the term used by other media”•“Earthquake, stop, and it stopped.”
Quiboloy, not joking, added in Filipino: “You should be grateful to me because if I did not direct the earthquake to stop, a lot of your homes would be destroyed and you would have died. I am not saying this without a witness. There were a lot of witnesses around me.”
“People are not allowed to go back to buildings,” Mark Timbal, a spokesman for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, told the ANC news channel.
Timbal said this would keep them from getting buried under if another earthquake hits and the building collapses on them.
The NDRRMC warning came as a magnitude 5.5 earthquake rocked the province of Sarangani on Friday at 10:33 a.m.
Of tectonic origin, the tremor had a depth of 33 kilometers and was located 334 kilometers southeast of Sarangani, Davao Occidental, near the border with Indonesia.
No significant effect was observed in Mindanao since the quake’s epicenter was far from land, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said.
The tremor was independent from the series of quakes that jolted Mindanao in the past two weeks.
“The quake was too far with a depth of more than 300 kilometers. Besides, it only had a magnitude of 5.5. So there is no cause for alarm,” Phivolcs head Renato Solidum said.
Aftershocks, including those from two stronger earthquakes recorded earlier in the week, numbered at 968 as of 3 p.m. on Thursday and were experienced hourly, the disaster agency added in a Friday morning report.
A 4.2 temblor even hit Tulunan in North Cotabato, the epicenter of the 6.6 and 6.5-magnitude quakes on Tuesday and Thursday, yesterday.
“Usually, what happens is people who are going back are the ones who get trapped,” Timbal said.
The NDRRMC, he added, has informed local government units about areas identified as hazardous and that needed to be vacated.
Meanwhile, the Palace said President Rodrigo Duterte will continue monitoring the situation in the Philippines, especially in the quake-hit areas of Mindanao, while he is away from the country.
The President remains “on top of the situation,” despite his decision to fly to Thailand on Thursday afternoon to attend the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit and Related
Summits on Nov. 2 to 4, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
Duterte on Thursday directed all concerned government agencies to provide immediate assistance to quake victims in Mindanao.
He also ordered local government units to inspect the structure of buildings nationwide following the three powerful earthquakes that hit Mindanao in two weeks.
“It is time for the LGUs to inspect all buildings. They should start now,” Duterte told reporters in Davao City on Thursday night.
The Chinese government expressed its deepest sympathy to the affected families and donated 3 million renminbi, approximately P22 million, as assistance to victims of the disaster.
“China believes that, under the strong leadership of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and the government of the Philippines, the Philippine people will overcome the disaster and rebuild their homeland as soon as possible,” the Chinese Embassy in Manila added in a statement.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said it is monitoring the movement in the Malungon Fault Line, which could generate a magnitude 7.2 quake.
The NDRRMC confirmed that around 16 people have been killed so far in the magnitude of 6.6 and 6.5 earthquakes that rocked Tulunan, North Cotabato and other nearby provinces.
In its 8 a.m. Friday update signed and released by NDRRMC executive director Ricardo Jalad, the agency said about 403 people were reported injured while two were still missing.
All of the fatalities, injured and missing were reported in Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, and Soccsksargen and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the agency reported.
The details on the fatalities provided by the NDRRMC are as follows:
• Jessie Riel Parba, 15, a resident of Purok 3 Pakigdait, Magsaysay, Davao Del Sur, died after being hit by debris coming from a collapsing wall caused by the magnitude 6.6 earthquake;
• Benita B. Saban, residing at Sitio Upper Asbang-elok, Barangay Tagaytay, Magsaysay, Davao Del Sur, killed by a landslide caused by the magnitude 6.6 tremblor;
• Romulo Naraga, of Barangay Altavista, Bansalan, Davao Del Sur, died due to cardiac arrest reportedly caused by the magnitude 6.6 earthquake;
• Nestor Narciso, 66, a resident of Barangay Zone 1 Bagong Sikat, Koronadal City, South Cotabato, died after being hit by debris caused by the magnitude 6.6 tremor;
• Samuel Linao Andy, 44, of Sitio Kitao, Barangay Lanao Kuran, Arakan, Cotabato, was killed by a rockslide caused by the magnitude 6.6 quake;
• Renee Corpuz Andy, 7, of the same locality, killed in the same rockslide;
• Marichelle Morla, 23, a resident of Sitio Alimodian, Barangay Banayal, Tulunan, North Cotabato, killed after being hit by debris caused by the magnitude 6.6 earthquake;
• Patricio Lumayon, 65, of Barangay Luayon, Makilala, Cotabato, died after being hit by debris caused by the same magnitude 6.6 tremor;
• Pao Zailon Abdulah, 64, a native of Barangay Kibayao, Carmen, North Cotabato, succumbed to cardiac arrest caused by the same magnitude 6.6 quake;
• Isidro Gomez, 63, of Purok 3, Barangay Pagasa, M’lang, Cotabato, died of cardiac arrest in the same tremor;
• Cesar Bangot, chief of Batasan village, Makilala, Cotabato; hit by falling debris caused by the magnitude 6.5 earthquake;
• Juve Gabriel Jauod, 7, and of Barangay Nueva Vida, M’lang, Cotabato, who also died after being hit by falling debris caused by the same magnitude 6.5 earthquake;
Completing the list of deaths were Rommel Galicia, 20, a resident of Barangay Luayon, Barangay Makilala, and Precilla Verona, 70, of Barangay San Isidro, also of Makilala, Cotabato.
Families affected by the twin earthquakes were placed at 6,009 which is equivalent to 30,045 people residing in 72 barangays in Davao Region and Soccsksargen.
Of these figures, 2,552 families or 12,760 individuals are now being sheltered in 19 evacuation centers while 1,370 families equivalent to 6,850 persons are being aided outside.
Also, a total of 2,817 structures were reported damaged in Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, Soccsksargen and the BARMM.
Cotabato Vice Gov. Emilou Talino-Mendoza said seven persons have died in Makilala alone, since the earthquake first struck on Oct. 16.
Mayor Arthur Davin of Magsaysay, Davao del Sur said five more people were killed Friday, and 957 families have been displaced in his town.
Mendoza said 9,704 families in Makilala’s 11 villages have left their houses to settle in open fields, mostly on makeshift tents, with very little supply of food and potable water.
She said residents fear a landslide.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Red Cross intensified its operations after a magnitude 6.5 earthquake hit several parts of Mindanao Thursday morning.
Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the PRC, said it has deployed eight teams to conduct assessments and augment the chapters’ operations in different areas of Mindanao.
The North Cotabato Chapter sent teams to assess the situation in Kidapawan City and Barangay Ilomavis while volunteers and staff from Davao del Sur set up a temporary station and also deployed a team to conduct an assessment of their area. With Macon Ramos-Araneta, MJ Blancaflor, Rey Requejo, and PNA