A RETIRED police officer was killed, while at least 10 others were hurt when a magnitude 6.6 earthquake hit the province of Masbate Tuesday morning, Aug. 18, 2020.
The Masbate Provincial Police Office identified the lone fatality as retired Colonel Gilbert Sauro, a resident of Sitio Alimango Barangay Concepcion, Cataingan town.
While the injured are from Palanas, a neighboring town of Catangian, the quake’s epicenter where several houses and the Public Attorney’s Office building were left damaged by the tremor.
“There are reports that a man was inside one of the houses that collapsed; but we have to confirm whether or not he is alive or part of the casualties. We also still have to identify him,” said Masbate Public Information chief Jun Bagahilog in a mix of Tagalog and English.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said the quake struck with a depth of one kilometer near Cataingan, Masbate at 8:03 a.m.
The quake was felt in Cebu, Bohol, Samar, Leyte, Biliran, Negros Island, Panay Island, and even in Gingoog, Misamis Oriental in Mindanao, as well as in parts of Bicol region and Quezon province in southern Luzon.
In Cebu, officials of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) said around 14 towns and cities reported tremors brought about by the earthquake in Masbate.
The PDRRMO said the quake was also felt in the cities of Danao, Talisay, Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue; as well as the towns of Alegria, Carmen, Medellin, Minglanilla, San Fernando, Tabogon and Tabuelan.
An intensity 3 quake was also felt in San Francisco town, Camotes Island, and the towns of Madridejos and Sta. Fe in Bantayan Island.
Rhee Telen, PDRRMO spokesperson, said there were no damages reported in those areas after the quake.
Telen urged residents in Cebu Province, especially those living in areas considered “critical” to be vigilant as more aftershocks are expected to occur.
Immediately after the quake, PDRMMO personnel inspected all structures at the Capitol compound including the 82-year-old Cebu Provincial Capitol building.
Local courts in Cebu City also suspended proceedings on Tuesday at the Qimonda IT Center due to the earthquake.
“The make and location (3rd and 4th floors of Qimonda IT Center) of the Cebu City Hall of Justice are such that an intensity 4 earthquake can feel like intensity 6 or 7,” said
Regional Trial Court (RTC) Executive Judge Macaundas Hadjirasul in a Facebook post.
“When people get scared, or panic, observance of health protocols goes out of the window. When PHIVOLCS told us that aftershocks have been recorded and more can be expected during the day, we decided to declare a whole-day suspension of work, with the prior kind permission of the Honorable Deputy Court Administrator for the Visayas,” Hadjirasul added. (SunStar Philippines, ANV)