6.6 quake aftermath in Mindanao: 2 killed; work, classes suspended

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 29 October) – Two persons were killed, while thousands of students and workers scampered for safety, a number of them suffering injuries when a magnitude 6.6 earthquake jolted parts of Mindanao at 9:04 a.m. Tuesday, 13 days after a magnitude 6.3 quake also struck Mindanao, with epicenters both in Tulunan, North Cotabato.

Patients at a private hospital in Koronadal City were brought out of the building following the magnitude 6.6 quake. MindaNews photo by BONG S. SARMIENTO

Nestor Naricso, 67, a retired ambulance driver of the South Cotabato Provincial Hospital, was killed when portions of a concrete wall on the second floor of the Marbel Evangelical Church Ministry Inc. along Langka Street in Purok Bagong Sikat, Barangay General Paulino Santos, collapsed.

According to caretaker Isaiah Donaire, Narciso was working at the ground level when the quake struck and the concrete debris hit him on the head. Narciso was rushed to the provincial hospital but expired along the way.

In Magsaysay, Davao del Sur, 15-year old Jessie Rial Parba, a Grade 9 student at the Kasuga National High School, was also hit by a debris from a collapsed wall.

Work and classes were suspended in several parts of Regions 11 and 12 following the Magnitude 6.6 earthquake that jolted Mindanao anew Tuesday, officials said.

In Koronadal City, Mayor Eliordo Ogena suspended classes in all levels and also ordered the suspension of work in the public and private sectors following the strong quake with the epicenter traced 26 kilometers (km) northeast of Tulunan, North Cotabato.

Students, workers and shoppers in this city, the seat of government of Region 12, rushed out of buildings.

Several individuals were brought to various hospitals here after they fainted. Damages were also monitored to hit several infrastructure in the region.

Anton Maganto, Department of Education Region 12 spokesperson, said classes were also suspended in the cities of Kidapawan and General Santos City as of 10 a.m.

“The power to suspend classes rests with the local government units,” he said.

But school principals can also suspend classes if they assessed that the buildings are not safe for students and teachers following an earthquake, Maganto added.

Electricity was cut down here but was restored less than an hour after the tremor.

Patients were brought out of public and private hospitals in this city following the quake.

In Daig, Tulunan, North Cotabato, Tsai Via, a kindergarten teacher, posted on her FB page an appeal for help to rescue them, with photographs showing injured young students.

“Please, we need rescue as soon as possible. We are not able to call or contact anyone. We are just lucky if this gets uploaded. There is no signal. Our building has collapsed. A lot of kids here. Please!” Via wrote.

In another post, this time with photos of the collapsed schoolbuilding, Via wrote: “This is all I can do to ask for help. We can’t call or message anyone. Bardown na mga building namun. We are still here at the school ground. Wala pa namun nadouble check kung naa pai bata sa sulod. Galihok pa lupa. (We haven’t double checked if there are still students inside. The ground is still shaking,” Via wrote, adding in all caps, “WE NEED RESCUE! AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.”

In her next post, accompanied by a photograph of a wounded student, Via asked for “financial help for this student po for hospitalization. I hope LGU Tulunan could help us. Please! I hope u’ll read this. Di mi katawag gyud as of now (We can’t call as of now). We are here at Centeno Hospital.”

Tulunan Vice Mayor Maureen Villamor told reporters that five persons, mostly pupils, were injured when seven of their classrooms at Daig Elementary School in Barangay Daig, collapsed.

Of the injured, two were rushed to the nearest hospital while the rest were given first aid.

Two teachers also sustained injuries while a pregnant teacher felt pain in her stomach.

Villamor said that two of the seven damaged classrooms at had totally collapsed and were considered not fit for learning.

Villamor said that based on their monitoring, they found at least 197 pupils and eight teachers of the school suffered trauma as a result of the strong quake and aftershocks.

In Davao City, Mayor Sara Duterte ordered a suspension of classes in public and private schools from kindergarten to post-graduate studies as the quake might have caused structural and electrical damage to buildings and houses.

“All school owners, teachers, and other school personnel are hereby instructed to subject school structures to a safety inspection with a qualified engineer immediately,” Duterte said. (see other story).

Also in Davao City, two persons were injured while several infrastructure sustained minor to major cracks.

Based on the report of Davao City Police Office, injured were 38-year old Sherwin Bacalla Cuico and 36-year old Jane Yabo Tagalo, both employees of the Mintal branch of the Tagum Cooperative. They were brought to the Davao Adventist Church after a signage of their office building fell on them as the workers evacuated outside.

In Cagayan de Oro City, City Information Officer Maricel Rivera Casino said the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO) which operates a seismograph, recorded the quake at magnitude 4 for the city and adjoining province of Misamis Oriental.

Casino said classes in all schools were suspended in Cagayan de Oro as city officials and owners check school buildings for damages.

She said one person was brought to the hospital after the ceiling of the Teleperformance call center at the Ayala Centrio cracked.

The management of Ayala Centrio mall ordered the closure for today closed the establishment on Tuesday,

The quake registered Intensity 7 in Tulunan, Makilala and Kidapawan City in North Cotabato and Malungon in Sarangani; 6 in Davao City, Koronadal and Cagayan de Oro; 5 in Tampakan, Surallah and Tupi towns in South Cotabato; and Alabel in Sarangani; 4 in General Santos City and Kalilangan in Bukidnon; 3 in Sergio Osmena Sr., in Zamboanga del Norte; Zamboanga City; Dipolog City and Molave town in Zamboanga del Norte; and Talakag in Bukidnon; and 1 in Mambajao in Camiguin.

Several aftershocks followed, including a Magnitude 6.1 quake shortly before 11 p.m.

(Bong Sarmiento, Froilan Gallardo, Ferdinandh B. Cabrera, Manman Dejeto, Antonio Colina, Malu Cadelina Manar and Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)