Third time around for deadly quake

October 31, 2019
Damaged building
A general view shows a damaged building after a 6.5-magnitude earthquake hit Kidapawan North Cotabato yesterday. A powerful earthquake struck Mindanao crushing a man under falling debris and sparking searches of seriously damaged buildings that had already been rattled by two previous deadly tremors. AFP / Ferdinand Cabrera

A THIRD powerful earthquake shook Mindanao yesterday morning killing at least four, damaging roads and buildings that withstood the previous two quakes and triggering massive search-and-rescue operations, officials said even as President Duterte was reported safe in Davao City when the quake struck.

The magnitude 6.5 earthquake’s was recorded around 9:11 a.m. off Tulunan, North Cotabato which was the same general area of the previous two major quakes. In the second powerful quake last Tuesday, at least eight perished, according to an update by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). Officials said that yesterday’s earthquake was tectonic in origin.

Three of the four fatalities were all residents of Makilala, North Cotabato where scores were also recorded to have been injured. One of the victims was identified as Benjie Bangot, the chairman of Barangay Batasan whose body was discovered underneath the collapsed village hall.

The earthquake heavily damaged the 5-story Eva Hotel in Kidapawan City. A portion of a condominium building in Ecoland in Davao City also nearly collapsed, said the NDRRMC which clarified that the tremor felt yesterday was not an aftershock of the previous earthquakes that struck the region.

Yesterday’s earthquake sent many residents fleeing from shaking buildings. Residents also noted nearly 12-inch long cracks in some North Cotabato roads.

As a result of the latest tremor, some buildings and covered courts that survived the two previous tremors have been declared as “totally damaged” and need to be demolished.

In Davao City, Mayor Sara Duterte ordered all available personnel and resources deployed for search-and-rescue operations at the Ecoland 400 Residences whose ground floor caved in.

The 3rd, 4th and 5th floors of the condominium have been inspected and declared cleared of any victims although possible aftershocks initially prevented rescuers from penetrating the 2nd floor to search for any trapped people.

The building has 56 residential spaces from the 2nd to the 5th floor although reports said that only 15 persons were inside the building when the earthquake struck.

Duterte safe

President Rodrigo Duterte is safe ater the powerful earthquake that shook parts of Mindanao on Thursday, Malacañang said.

The President was in his hometown of Davao City when the Magnitude 6.5 earthquake hit off Tulunan town, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

Duterte’s house sustained cracks in the walls and ceiling, his former top aide, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, told newsmen.

“Sabi niya (Duterte) ‘di naman po siya takot sa lindol. Kung talagang panahon mo na, panahon mo na,” Go said of his phone call with the President.

(He said he’s not afraid of an earthquake. If it’s your time, then it’s your time.)

Duterte was still to visit the tomb of his parents yesterday as he is set to leave for Thailand todayday, All Saints’ Day, for the 35th ASEAN Summit, Panelo said.

Duterte has designated Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea as officer-in-charge of the government from Nov. 1 to 4.

DOLE response teams

The Department of Labor and Employment yesterday dispatched senior labor officials and quick response teams to areas in Mindanao hard hit by the 6.5 magnitude earthquake.

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said the teams will assess the extent of destruction in workplaces and possible displacement of workers in the affected areas.

“I have sent Undersecretary Ana Dione and Assistant Secretary Benjo Santos Benavidez to proceed to General Santos City, and Davao City to lead our regional DOLE officials in the assessment of the situation. This Sunday, I will personally fly to Davao City to see the extent of the damage and its effect on the employment of our kababayans,” he said.

Bello will bring along executive director Noel Binag of the Occupational Safety and Health Center for the safety assessment of affected workplaces on Sunday.

Bello added that they have yet to receive reports on job displacements of the workers in the affected areas. He said this will be one of the priority tasks of the response teams while profiling of the workers will follow.

He also said labor inspectors were already deployed to check the compliance of establishments with occupational safety and health standards and ensure the safety of the workers.

The labor chief said after the assessment of the extent of the damage, the department is set to allocate funds to provide emergency employment assistance to the affected workers and livelihood assistance to informal sector workers.

PRC volunteers

The Philippine Red Cross continues to assess and monitor the situation resulting from the magnitude 6.6 earthquake that hit several parts of Mindanao last Tuesday.

Senator Richard J. Gordon, PRC chairman and CEO, said they mobilized a total of 81 staff and volunteers, deployed 4 ambulances, 2 service vehicles, a water tanker, bladders and water purification unit to assist residents, especially the badly-affected in North Cotabato and Davao del Sur.

“Red Cross teams are providing first aid and other humanitarian services to the affected residents, such as, those in Upper Bala Elementary School in Magsaysay, Davao del Sur which serves as a temporary evacuation center,” he said.

Davao del Sur Chapter staff and volunteers provided psychosocial support to 155 quake-affected children and their families to relieve the stress.

PRC Sultan Kudarat, Kidapawan, South Cotabato, Davao del Sur and General Santos City Chapters also provided psychosocial support to 281 other individuals.

PRC staff and volunteers have provided hot meals to 254 patients and hospital staff, provided first aid to 74 patients in North Cotabato, Davao del Sur, General Santos, and Sultan Kudarat and monitored the blood pressure of 22 patients in South Cotabato and Gensan.

Teams from North Cotabato and Davao del Sur are on the ground assisted by South Cotabato, Iligan, Davao City and Gensan Chapters.

PRO 12 disaster group

Police, military and civilian rescue workers yesterday stepped up their search-rescue and relief operations in areas in Mindanao which were hit by a magnitude 6.6 earthquake on Tuesday.

Police Regional Office 12 director Brigadier General Alfred S. Corpus said they have already activated their Disaster Incident Management Task Group to spearhead all operations in Tulunan, North Cotabato which was the epicenter of the powerful quake around 9 a.m. Tuesday.

The PRO12-DIMTG is chaired by its Deputy Regional Director for Administration, Brig. Gen. Rex M. dela Rosa with Deputy Regional Director for Operations, Colonel Oliver O. Enmodias as the on-scene commander.

De la Rosa said that search-and-rescue teams from PRO12 police offices in the provinces, cities and municipalities hit by the earthquake have been automatically activated with their men mobilized for disaster response and search-and-rescue missions.

With EMontano, Lee Ann P. Ducusin