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Magnitude-6.1 earthquake shakes Metro Manila, Luzon


THE EPICENTER of the earthquake as plotted by Phivolcs.

THE EPICENTER of the earthquake as plotted by Phivolcs.

A strong earthquake measuring magnitude-6.1 on the Richter scale struck during the Monday afternoon rush hour in Metro Manila and parts of Luzon.

According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, the quake was felt at around 5:11 p.m. and originated 18 kilometers northeast of Castillejos, Zambales. It was initially measured as a 5.7-magnitude quake.

Phivolcs said the tremor was felt at Intensity 5 in San Felipe, Zambales; Malolos City and Obando, Bulacan; Quezon City; Lipa, Batangas; Manila; Abucay, Bataan; Valenzuela City; and Magalang, Pampanga. An earthquake with this intensity is described as “strong” as it is “generally felt by most people indoors or outdoors.”

Intensity 4 was recorded in Pasig City; Makati City; Caloocan City; Meycauayan and San Jose del Monte cities, Bulacan; Floridablanca, Pampanga; Villasis, Pangasinan; Tagaytay City; Baguio City; Marikina City; and Las Piñas City. An Intensity 4 tremor is felt “generally by people indoors and some people outdoors.”

Dasmariñas, Indang, and Gen. Trias, Cavite; Lucban, Quezon; Muntinlupa City, Cabanatuan City; Palayan City; Gapan City; Santo Domingo and Talavera, Nueva Ecija felt the earthquake at Intensity 3 as a “weak tremor.”

Baler, Aurora felt the earthquake at Intensity 2 as a “slight” shaking.

Phivolcs said the earthquake was tectonic in origin, which was caused by ground shaking primarily due to the sudden movement in the Earth’s plates. The tremor was shallow at 12 kilometers deep, thus, the strong shaking.

Phivolcs said aftershocks are expected to occur.

The Philippine National Police advised the public to always be alert and safe following the earthquake.

“In view of the earthquake felt at around 5:13 p.m. today, the PNP asks the public to remain calm; follow the drill and procedures on earthquake if necessary,” said Police Col. Bernard Banac, PNP spokesperson. “We assure our people that the PNP will stay to provide security, remain alert, and ready to respond for any call for help,” he added.

Thousands of people fled high-rise buildings in Metro Manila during the earthquake.

Office workers piled out onto the streets as emergency alarms blared but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Feliza Villanueva, 21, a business process outsourcing employee, said she and four colleagues were at work when the quake struck. “This was the second strongest quake I’ve felt in my entire life,” she said as she joined hundreds of others in the courtyard of an office building waiting for the all clear.

“We were worried but we did not panic,” she said. “We planned how to evacuate the building. There were too many people going down the stairs, so we waited for our turn. People looked in shock, but no one was shouting or anything like that,” she said.

Dani Justo, a martial arts instructor, said she was at her home in Metro Manila when the quake struck. “The clothes hanging on our line were really swaying. My shih tzu (dog) dropped flat on the ground,” she added.

At least eight people were reported dead and several houses and establishments were damaged by the earthquake in Pampanga.

Pampanga Gov. Lilia Pineda said two of the fatalities were killed in Lubao while the three others died in Porac.

Scores of people were trapped when a supermarket collapsed in Porac. Fifty people are still trapped inside the supermarket, Pineda said, while 20 people have been rescued and were brought to nearby hospitals. A part of a church in Porac also collapsed.

Among the fatalities were reportedly an old woman and her granddaughter.

NDDRMC spokesman Edgar Posadas said Pampanga and Zambales appeared to be the hardest hit of the tremor. “We are still confirming reports of small landslides and that a portion of the Subic-Clark Expressway was damaged,” said Posadas.

The earthquake resulted in power outage in some parts of Central Luzon, especially in Pampanga and Zambales.

Among those which incurred damage was the Clark International Airport. Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines Director General Jim Sydiongco said the control tower of the CIA incurred damage as well as the Passenger Terminal Building.

“The tower is not being utilized at the moment while awaiting full damage assessment,” said Sydiongco.

“In the meantime, while the tower is not being used pending structural assessment, our Air Traffic Controllers’ in the interim brought a radio and established temporary tower on ground near the runway to allow landing of incoming aircraft,” he added.

While there was no reported damage to the runway of the Clark International Airport, its management has decided to close its operation for 24 hours.

The operations of Metro Rail Transit-3 were suspended and will resume this morning following the earthquake.

“Operations will no longer resume today since the quake is quite strong,” Engineer Michael Capati, director for operations of MRT-3, said.  “We already formed, as an SOP (standard operating procedures), a team to check the facilities – both structures and trains,” Capati added.

Operations of the Light Rail Transit-1, which runs from Roosevelt in Quezon City to Baclaran, Paranaque City, were suspended following the quake.

“In the interest of passenger safety, LRT-1 is temporarily suspending its operations for the whole line (Roosevelt-Baclaran),” it said on its official Facebook page.

The Department of Transportation said that the Philippine National Railways has also suspended its operations after the quake.

 “Let us not risk the safety of our commuters,” DoTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said. “Better be safe than sorry. Siguraduhin na ligtas sakyan ang buong linya bago natin patakbuhin ulit.”

“Passengers are requested to remain calm and be mindful of their and their fellow passengers’ safety while disembarking at the stations,” the DoTr added.

A building of the Emilio Aguinaldo College in Ermita, Manila was partially damaged by the earthquake. The building on San Marcelino St. leaned on an adjacent structure.

Two persons were injured when a glass from The One Tower condominium on España and Jhocson Street in Sampaloc, Manila fell to the ground during the earthquake. (With reports from AFP, Martin Sadongdong, Aaron Recuenco, Franco Regala, Ria Fernandez, Jhon Casinas, Minka Tiangco, and Jonas Reyes)


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