By Saul E. Pa-a | Philippines News Agency
CAMP VICENTE LIM, Laguna—The Office of Civil Defense-Calabarzon (OCD-Calabarzon) went on red alert following the occurrence of more aftershocks from the 5.4-magnitude earthquake that struck Batangas on Tuesday evening.
The town of Tingloy, where the epicenter of the tremor was traced, experienced 32 aftershocks as of 5 a.m. on Wednesday, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).
The move aims to ensure proper monitoring, coordination and response to the earthquake-affected areas.
At least five other aftershocks were also felt in other towns of Batangas: two in San Luis, two in Mabini and one in San Nicolas.
According to the OCD-Calabarzon Regional Director and Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) Chairman Olivia M. Luces, 37 aftershocks were felt mostly in the Batangas earthquake epicenter in Tingloy.
Director Luces said Tingloy Church also sustained minor damages as updates trickled early Wednesday morning from the local disaster risk reduction and management offices (LDRRMOs) and parishioners.
Tingloy’s island town residents have returned to their homes early Wednesday morning after they were evacuated to higher grounds in the wake of any tsunami alert as a pre-emptive measurre.
As of Wednesday morning, scores of Batangas City residents have remained on alert and are seen outside of tall buildings and at open areas, owing to continuous aftershocks.
The city Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (DRRMC) and the Batangas Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) have already deployed resources to ensure the safety of the residents at the evacuation areas.
Emergency-response teams have been on stand by and city officials continue to monitor and assess buildings and establishments that may have sustained damages.
Luces said they have been closely monitoring the Phivolcs earthquake bulletins and intensifying coordination and situation updates, including rapid damage assessments with LDRRMOs.
She also appealed to social-media users, netizens and the public to engage in factual information from authorities and avert spreading of false information that may cause panics to the public.
As of Wednesday morning, the town government of San Luis, Batangas, through its DRRMC has distributed biscuits and hot drinks to the evacuated families from the five coastal barangays. Although, some families have spent the night at the evacuation center due to some aftershocks, others have started to return home following local government caution to stay alert and prepare for any eventuality.
OCD-RDRRMC here also reported that the Bauan Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (MDRRMO) assisted patients of Bejasa Hospital who were temporarily evacuated to return to the hospital premises.
In Calaca, Batangas, the MDRRMO also deployed its personnel to the coastal areas to monitor the movement of the sea.
Around 1,000 coastal residents of Mabini, Batangas, were evacuated to safe areas by the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council out of fear from tsunami incidence but returned home by Wednesday dawn.
Taal and Lemery towns also conducted their preemptive evacuation to some 2,000 coastal villagers as the earthquake struck on Tuesday night but the residents were back in their residences by dawn after verifying there was no tsunami alert.