Frayed nerves, but no damageBy Edison A. Delos Angeles, Jhunnex Napallacan
Cebu Daily News
Aside from rattled nerves, there was no major damage recorded in Cebu City in last Friday evening’s earthquake, said disaster response officials.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama visited AM radio stations to appeal for calm among city residents and to warn the public to watch out for aftershocks.
He also ordered an inspection of all city government buildings.
Rafael Yap, Cebu City Integrated Traffic Operations Management (Citom) chief, said the earthquake which registered a magnitude 7.6 in Eastern Samar, didn’t disrupt the city’s traffic lights system.
“For as long as there’s power we will continue to operate the traffic lights..it was a good thing that it happened at past 8 p.m when most residents were home,” he said.
Yap, who was watching videos at home when the tremors broke out, said traffic would have been a problem if the earthquake occurred earlier.
The bed he was lying on shook.
“I felt like I was on a boat…I checked on my grandpa and cousin downstairs afterwards,” he said.
In February 6, an earthquake whose epicenter was in Negros Oriental caused residents in Cebu City to rush in panic down the street, amid fears of a tsunami.
The quake slightly damaged the Customs building and other structures, which engineers later said were no longer fit for occupancy.
Rama was in a gathering in barangay Pahina Central when the quake occured. He said he didn’t notice it until he saw a parked motorcycle shake.
Rama immediately asked the 30 people present to “relax” and led them in praying for God’s protection.
His cousin, talent manager Annabelle Rama, said the earthquake was strong enough to make her feel dizzy.
After visiting AM radio and TV stations, Rama visited the coastal barangays of Sawang Calero, Suba, Pasil and Ermita to monitor the situation there.
The mayor said the city is blessed to be protected by the Sto. Niño from earthquakes.
Cebu City is flanked by Mactan island which prevents huge waves that may be caused by a tsunami from hitting the mainland.
The Office of Civil Defense in Central Visayas confirmed that no major damage was reported in the region.
Engr. Robinson Jorgio, seismic observer of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) in Lapu-Lapu City, said the quake was also felt in Bohol, Roxas City, Sorsogon, Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas, and Mindanao.
Call center agents who worked the night shift in Cebu City’s IT Park were ordered to go outside the building to an open space when the tremors were felt, said Jay Ann Garrido of Aegis People’s Support.
Garrido said they were allowed to go back inside past 10 p.m. after the building was inspected.
RJ Leduna of SM Cebu City said most of their mall customers, including moviegoers rushed outside the mall when the quake happened.
Nonoy Mongaya, information officer of the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, said while patients and their watchers were afraid, no one went outside the building.
At the Mariner’s Court Cebu in Pier 1, a youth gathering that was supposed to end at 10 p.m. ended earlier past 8 p.m. because of last Friday’s tremors.
The Cebu Institute of Technology (CIT) suspended classes at their N. Bacalso Campus yesterday to check for damage in their buildings.
Dr. Arsenio Pacaña, dean of the education department, said classes will resume tomorrow.
Hairline cracks were found on the ground floor of the University of Cebu (UC) main campus building in Cebu City.
But school representative Bobby Lumban was quoted in a radio report as saying that the cracks weren’t alarming. The school’s intramurals went on as scheduled..
Citom chairman Sylvan “Jack” Jakosalem said there’s little chance that Cebu will be affected by the tsunami.
“Cebu is in the middle of two islands so we cannot be hit by tsunami…an earthquake is a lot more dangerous,” he said.
Jakosalem said people should monitor the radio and other available media outlets to be aware of what’s happening during calamities.
He also advised households to secure emergency kits, bottled water and canned goods as a precaution. Jakosalem said Citom personnel “will go out into the field” to monitor the situation.
Former Cebu City fire marshal Aderson Comar said “more drills” should be done in the city to better prepare residents on dealing with earthquakes.
Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza said disaster risk reduction trainings are being done in their 30 barangays. The mayor said she will send a team to inspect the city government’s buildings and major landmarks. With Correspondents Tweeny M. Malinao, Joy Cherry Quito and Jucell Marie P. Cuyos and Chief of Reporters Doris C. Bongcac