Magnitude 6.3 earthquake shakes Southern Mindanao; No tsunami warning

The earthquake damaged Cor Jesu College where President Rodrigo Duterte finished high school. (OCD XI photos)

DAVAO CITY – A magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit North Cotabato early Wednesday evening, sending people in coastal communities scampering to higher grounds, although Chief Philippine government seismologist Renato Solidum said there was no risk of a tsunami because the earthquake occurred inland.

The earthquake, which was recorded at 7:37 pm., was tectonic in origin and its epicentre was located 23 kilometers southwest of Makilala town, North Cotabato, or near Tulunan town of the same province. It has a depth of focus of only two kilometers.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) recorded 33 aftershocks almost three hours later, with one strong and two mild shakes recorded at magnitude 5.5 (8:09 p.m.), at magnitude 4.3 (9:25 p.m.), and at magnitude 4 (8:34 pm), all triggered by the tremor at epicentres near Columbio town, Sultan Kudarat.

The quake was felt stronger at intensity 7 in the province’s Kidapawan City, M’lang and Tulunan.  

The Davao regional Office of Civil Defense showed pictures of the damage to Cor Jesu College, where Pres. Rodrigo Duterte once studied and finished high school. The school is located in downtown Digos City, Davao del Sur.

The pictures showed big chunks of cement blocks that fell off several pillars and walls. There was a power blackout in the city after the earthquake.

Residents near and along the coastline of Davao City also went out of their homes in panic over reports that water along Matina coastlines had purportedly receded.

Residents of Malita, the capital town of Davao Occidental, told BusinessMirror that they sought higher ground after people said they saw sea waters receding.

The Davao City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office appealed to media organizations to help them relay that there was no tsunami alarm.

On late evening, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio announced the suspension of all classes in public and private schools, from kindergarten to post-graduate studies on Thursday.

With confirmed reports of “structural and electrical damage to buildings and houses”, Duterte instructed all school owners, teachers, and other school personnel “to subject school structures to a safety inspection with a qualified engineer tomorrow”.

“If they find building defects that are dangerous and need repair, they should immediately condemn the area and not allow students to use the same,” she said.

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