KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 16 Oct) – A magnitude 6.3 earthquake with epicenter in North Cotabato alarmed Mindanawons early evening Wednesday as it caused blackouts and panic, forcing people to run out of malls and houses.
Initial reports said a fire occurred at the Gaisano Mall in neighboring General Santos City because of the quake.
Based on the coordinates (06.76°N, 125.04°E) provided by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), the quake’s epicenter was somewhere in the municipality of Tulunan.
PHIVOLCS reported that the earthquake was of tectonic origin with a depth of focus of only 2 kms.
The agency said it was expecting damage and aftershocks. As of 9 p.m., PHIVOLCS already reported 16 aftershocks ranging from magnitude 1.7 to 5.5.
PHIVOLCS said the quake was felt strongest, as intensity VII, in Tulunan, M’lang and Kidapawan City, all in North Cotabato. But it was felt in most of Mindanao.
The fire at Gaisano-GenSan started around 8 p.m., according to Dr. Agripino Dacera Jr., chief of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO).
He quoted mall personnel as saying that the fire originated at the furniture, plastic wares section and storage area.
Cyrus Urbano, head of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said he already dispatched personnel and directed barangay officials to check for possible damages.
Rolly Doane Aquino, South Cotabato Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office operations and warning head, said four people were brought to the South Cotabato Provincial Hospital here due to minor injuries as a result of the earthquake.
The South Cotabato 1 Electric Cooperative (SOCOTECO-1), in its power advisory, reported an “unscheduled power interruption” as its 60kV sub-transmission line was tripped due to the temblor. (MindaNews)