Quake caused cracks at GenSan city hall, but building safe

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 17 Oct) – Minor cracks were found at the city hall building here while portions of the ceiling of two shopping malls and several other structures here have collapsed as a result of the magnitude 6.3 earthquake that rocked parts of Mindanao on Wednesday night.

Mayor Ronnel Rivera said Thursday the latest earthquake mainly aggravated some cracks at the main city hall building due to previous temblors but the entire structure remains generally safe.

He said the assessment, which covered the city gymnasium and 10 other structures, was conducted by personnel from the City Engineer’s Office led by assistant city engineer Emerald Signar.

The opening of offices at the city hall was rescheduled to 10 a.m. instead of the regular 8 a.m. to facilitate the inspection.

The cracks were found at the stairs of the city hall building and the City Agriculture Office’s training center, which is currently undergoing retrofitting.

“So far, the entire city hall building and other structures are safe so we’re business as usual,” the mayor declared in a briefing.

Dr. Agripino Dacera Jr., head of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO), said the mayor has tasked the Office of the Building Official to conduct inspections on private buildings like hospitals, private schools, shopping malls and other commercial establishments while the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) was assigned to cover government buildings, including those of public schools.

He said the DPWH has created at least 12 teams to fast-track the inspections, expected to be completed within the day.

As to the private establishments, Dacera said parts of the ceiling of the SM Mall here and the KCC Mall Veranza were reported to have collapsed during the quake.

The official said a guest of a hotel here was reported to have suffered minor injuries after slipping off while evacuating through the fire exit.

He said there were no other reported injuries or casualties by the city’s 26 barangay councils, which were immediately alerted following the temblor.

“The teams are still in the field right now and we expect some reports to come in later,” he told reporters.

Mayor Rivera has declared class suspensions in all levels in both private and public schools in the city in line with the ongoing damage assessment and inspections. (MindaNews)