Two strong quakes in Davao de Oro damage highway, houses
DAVAO CITY, Davao del Sur, Philippines — Two earthquakes of magnitude 4.9 and 5.2 that jolted Davao de Oro province barely five hours apart at dawn on Monday destroyed a major highway and prompted the suspension of classes throughout the province.
Vice Gov. Jayvee Tyron Uy said the national highway connecting New Bataan and Maragusan towns was impassable after part of the road collapsed during the earthquake.
“The continuous shaking caused the road to collapse,” he told the Inquirer by phone. “But roads in elevated portions of the highway, such as this one, should have included slope protection as part of its program,” he added.
Gov. Dorothy Montejo Gonzaga on Monday suspended classes at all levels in private and public schools in the province but decided to proceed with the opening of its three-day Bulawan Festival.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said the magnitude 4.9 quake that struck at 12:49 a.m. on Monday was still an aftershock of the magnitude 6 quake that shook the province on Feb. 1. Phivolcs traced the recent quake’s epicenter some 9 kilometers southeast of New Bataan town, with depth of focus at 5 km.
At 4:43 a.m., another quake of 5.3 magnitude again jolted the area, with its epicenter traced 22 km southeast of New Bataan town.
Some houses in Maragusan reported cracks on the floor and on their concrete wall while in Nabunturan town, the ceiling of the classroom inside Nabunturan National High School also fell during the quake.
Phivolcs reported that both quakes were tectonic in origin but Uy said they were trying to alert Phivolcs about reports by some villagers who reportedly saw flashes from the crater of Mt. Leonard Kniaseff in Maco town, shortly before the 12:49 a.m. quake. Mt. Leonard is an active volcano.
Although the governor suspended all classes, the celebration of Bulawan Festival, a three-day event that culminates in the province’s 25th founding anniversary on March 8, pushed through despite the shaking.
Gonzaga did not call off the festival, saying that the events that celebrate the province’s creation were to be held outdoors.
Davao de Oro was also struck by a magnitude 6 quake in February this year, which damaged a portion of the Davao de Oro provincial hospital building.