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Prepare for strong quakes up to magnitude 8.2: Phivolcs

QUEZON CITY – A series of strong earthquake jolted Mindanao and Luzon, including Metro Manila, the past days causing damages to buildings and infrastructures, prompting the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) to warn the people to always  be prepared for strong temblors  up to magnitude 8.2.

“The Manila Trench and the Philippine Trench are both capable of generating magnitude 8.2 earthquake,” Phivolcs Director Teresito Bacolcol said in an interview.

Bacolcol added that the Philippine Fault Zone in Gabaldon, on the other hand, is capable of generating a magnitude 7.9 earthquake.

Last Saturday night, a magnitude 7.4 earthquake shook Surigao del Sur and parts of Mindanao. The quake’s epicenter was traced 29 km. northeast of Hinatuan. The earthquake has so far generated 1,898 aftershocks with magnitudes 1.4 to 6.6 as of 1 p.m. Monday.

At least 355 of these aftershocks were plotted or located, while 19 were felt.

Meanwhile, Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna has ordered the City Engineer’s Office to conduct a thorough check on the Manila City Hall to ensure its structural integrity.

Lacuna made the order after Tuesday afternoon’s magnitude 5.9 earthquake in Lubang, Occidental Mindoro, which was also felt in Metro Manila.

Lacuna also directed barangay officials to check if the integrity of any building or edifice in their respective areas had been affected by the earthquake.
Meanwhile, the Manila International Airport Authority said the earthquake did not cause damage to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s runway, taxiway and terminal facilities. The LRT and MRT services also resumed after brief stoppage due to the quake.
Likewise, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines said no damage was reported in airports it operates across Luzon

A total of 132,615 families have so far been affected by the series of strong earthquakes that recently rocked the province of Surigao del Sur and nearby provinces, according to  the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC)

The partial cost of damage to public infrastructure caused by the recent strong earthquakes in Mindanao has topped P500 million, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) reported

Bacolcol said the strongest quake in Mindanao was the magnitude 8.1 on August 17, 1976.

“It (strongest quake) was generated by the Cotabato Trench. Around 8,000 people died because of the tsunami,” he said.

Bacolcol stressed that the people should always be prepared for any eventuality like earthquakes.

“The country is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, and every now and then we will be jolted by major earthquakes. Earthquakes are random events and we should always be prepared for these geological hazards,” he pointed out.

Bacolcol also said that the magnitude 7.4 quake last Saturday did not cause much damage due to its depth.

“It was 26 km. deep, so the seismic energy was dissipated as it traveled to the surface,” he said. (Jeanne Michael Penaranda)