Strong quake hits Mindanao; 2 dead
GENERAL SANTOS CITY—People raced outside buildings as a magnitude 6.8 earthquake shook a large part of Mindanao on Friday afternoon.
Accounts gathered by the Inquirer showed those who remained inside commercial and office buildings, including shopping malls, sought protection under tables and desks, leaving them pleading and praying for the intense ground shaking to stop soon.
According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), the temblor had a depth of 72 kilometers with epicenter at 34 km northwest of Sarangani Island in Davao Occidental province.
Friday’s quake, one of the strongest to hit Mindanao since 2019, struck at 4:14 p.m. and was felt in six regions—Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos), Davao, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Zamboanga Peninsula and Northern Mindanao.
Police said two residents were killed when a wall inside the Amadeo Compound, a residential village at Barangay San Isidro in this city, collapsed.
Police Capt. Danny Balofinos, officer in charge of Police Station 4, identified the victims as Danny Ginung, 26, and Jane Ginung, 18, both employees of Amadeo Pathwoods and residents of Barangay Sinawal.
The earthquake was felt strongest at Intensity 6 in Kiamba, Sarangani; some parts of South Cotabato; and General Santos City.
It was felt at Intensity 5 in Pantukan, Davao de Oro; Tagum City, Davao del Norte; Jose Abad Santos, Davao Occidental; Alabel, Maasim and Malungon in Sarangani; Banga, Lake Sebu, Tampakan and Tupi in South Cotabato; and Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat.
In Zamboanga City, some 400 km away, the quake was reported at Intensity 4, just like in Magsaysay, Davao del Sur; Davao City; Banisilan, Kabacan and Kidapawan City in Cotabato; Malapatan, Sarangani; Koronadal City, Norala and Santo Niño in South Cotabato; Bagumbayan, Kalamansig, Lebak, Lutayan, President Quirino and Senator Ninoy Aquino in Sultan Kudarat; Bislig City and Hinatuan in Surigao del Sur; Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao del Norte; and Cotabato City.
Many people were rushed to different hospitals in this city, most of them complaining of dizziness and hyperventilation, and others still in shock.
Col. Nicomedes Olaivar Jr., Sarangani provincial police director, told a local radio station that they were regulating the flow of traffic especially as many vehicles and ambulances were entering the city to bring in patients for medical attention in various hospitals.
They are also increasing police presence throughout the city to prevent possible looting in business establishments as power was not immediately restored after the quake hit. At the City Hall, lighting is provided by solar-powered equipment.
Reports at 7 p.m. showed that power supply was restored in some parts of General Santos.
The quake brought down a section of the wall of a local mall and the ceiling in another. Eyewitnesses said several people were injured inside the two malls but their accounts had yet to be confirmed by local disaster response units.
According to Rene Punzalan, Sarangani disaster response chief, they are having a hard time immediately coordinating with several towns due to a landslide along the national highway in Glan town.
In Sapu Padidu village of Malapatan town, the wall of Pangolima Integrated School reportedly collapsed.
In a statement, the city government of General Santos urged people to stay calm but alert for possible aftershocks, citing a warning from Phivolcs.
“Further, please be advised that work in the city government is also hereby suspended, pending structural integrity assessments,” it said.
In a statement, Presidential Communications Secretary Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil said on Friday: “The President has instructed every relevant government agency to promptly take action to ensure the safety and well-being of those affected.”