Quakes hit North Cotabato

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/20 September) – A series of earthquakes hit North Cotabato on Saturday, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) in a bulletin.

The first, a 4.4 magnitude quake, occurred at 5:59am 6 kilometers southeast of Makilala town followed by more tremors in the next hours.

At 12:26pm, a magnitude 5 quake struck, and the epicenter was located 14 km southwest of Kidapawan City with a depth of 11 km.

Philvolcs said it recorded nine earthquakes in North Cotabato on Saturday, all of them tectonic in origin. These included a magnitude 4.7 earthquake 14 km southeast of Kidapawan City, and a magnitude 2.8 quake 13 km south of Kidapawan City.

It added that at 7:18 am, a magnitude 3 earthquake struck 9 km northeast of Columbio town, Sultan Kudarat.

Reports from the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Region 12 said residents of Barangay Luayon in Makilala reported that at least 54 houses and a church were damaged.

But as of 4:00 pm Saturday, Phivolcs-Region 12 said the number of damaged houses had reached 69.

Fifteen of those houses were totally damaged, it added.

The agency advised the occupants of the partially damaged houses not to return as yet since there could still be aftershocks.

The village was celebrating its 62nd founding day with North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Mendoza as guest when the quake struck, Cynthia Ortega, the Provincial Risk Reduction and Management Council action officer, said.

Ortega said a boy suffered minor bruises when debris from their house that collapsed fell on him.

In Kidapawan, an intramural in a kindergarten school was temporarily stopped.

Intensities were felt in Kidapawan and in the towns of Arakan, Kabacan, Midsayap, in Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat and even in General Santos City and Digos City.

There were no reports of casualties from the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera)