AT least 31 people were injured in the magnitude 6.9 earthquake that hit Central Mindanao on Sunday, Police Regional Office 12 director Brigadier General Alfred S. Corpus said yesterday.
PRO12 personnel were among the first responders who arrived at the scene of the powerful tremor whose epicenter was recorded in Matanao, Davao del Sur around 2:11 p.m. Sunday.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology recorded following intensities in the region: Intensity 7 in Matanao and Magsaysay, Davao del Sur; Intensity 6 in Kidapawan City; General Santos City; Bansalan, Davao del Sur; Alabel and Malapatan in Sarangani; and Koronadal City; Intensity 5 in Tulunan and Matalam, Cotabato; Cotabato City; Davao City; and Glan, Sarangani; Intensity 3 in Kalilangan, Talakag and Dangcagan, Bukidnon; Intensity 2 in Impasugong, Bukidnon; Cagayan de Oro City; and Dipolog City; and Intensity 1 in Zamboanga del Sur.
The powerful tremor also destroyed 27 houses and other infrastructure in the region. However, all roads remained passable to motor vehicles and power was restored in 18 local government units in the region as of 6 in the morning yesterday.
The official said he has already reactivated their Disaster Incident Management Task Groups in the affected areas. The task groups will work in partnership with local disaster risk reduction and management officers to mitigate casualties and extend medical assistance to injured persons.
Corpus said that a medical Triad was also established at the vicinity of SM and KCC Mall of GenSan while mobile patrol and traffic management units were deployed at the KCC Mall, Robinson’s Mall and Fitmart Mall in General Santos City to help direct traffic and prevent looting.
He added that PRO12 personnel have been told to be ready for search and rescue and recovery operations in the earthquake areas.
Gamboa mobilizes rescue troops
Philippine National Police Officer-in-Charge Lieutenant General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa yesterday mobilized all available resources and personnel of the Police Regional Office 1 for search-rescue-and-relief operations in quake-stricken Davao del Sur.
“I have directed PRO11 director, Brigadier General Filmore Escobal to mobilize all police units under his command to ensure the safety of the public and help in ongoing search, rescue and relief operations in the affected areas,” the PNP-OIC said.
Gen. Gamboa assured the public that they remain alert and vigilant to prevent the occurrence of crimes even as they attend to the safety and emergency needs of the people.
According to Escobal, they are conducting their search-and-rescue operations in affected areas in coordination with the local disaster management council. “The safety of the general public is out paramount concern here and thus, I have ordered the deployment of adequate number of policemen in the affected areas for the maintenance of peace and order,” the official said.
The epicenter of the magnitude 6.9 earthquake which occurred at around 2:15 p.m. Sunday was traced in Padada, Davao del Sur and was felt in the entire Davao region.
Escobal said that Davao City, Davao del Sur and Davao Occidental residents felt the earthquake and they are helping the regional disaster risk reduction and management council conduct and assessment and evaluation of the damages.
“Our men have been providing traffic assistance to the pedestrians and have visited hospitals to determine the actual number of casualties and injured individuals,” the official said.
Shortly after the tremor, the Disaster Incident Management Task Group was activated with Emergency Operations Center established in the affected areas to provide immediate assistance to the public amid expected aftershocks.
Classes in all private and public schools in Davao City and Davao del Sur were cancelled yesterday following the powerful earthquake.
As of yesterday, Escobal said they have recorded partial damage to 19 big infrastructures in the region including six police buildings: the newly-built Sta. Cruz Municipal Police Station, the 1st Davao del Sur Provincial Mobile Force Company office and quarters; the Padada MPS, the Kiblawan MPS, Sulop MPS and the Matanao MPS, all in Davao del Sur.
In Davao City, the Mahayahay Bridge along Diversion Road was totally closed to vehicles due to cracks in the structure. All vehicles were diverted to Matina Crossing.