After Luzon, 6.5 magnitude earthquake hits Visayas

Tenants of buildings at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City evacuate after a strong earthquake was felt on Monday, April 22. (Philstar.com Gaea Katreena Cabico)

A magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck parts of the Visayas at 1:37 pm on Tuesday, April 23, following the 6.1 magnitude tectonic earthquake in Luzon at 5:11 pm on Monday, April 22.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvocs) said that the epicenter in the region was located in San Julian, Eastern Samar. Philvocs Director Renato Solidum said the Luzon and Visayas earthquakes “are not related.”

San Julian in Eastern Samar experienced an Intensity VI while Tacloban City, Catbalogan City, General MacArthur, Salcedo, Guiuan, Naval, Biliran, Catarman, Palo and Pastrana were at Intensity V.

Abuyog, Hilongos, Javier, Capoocan, Julieta, Baybay, Barogo, Jaro, MacArthur, Matalum, and Villaba in Leyte; San Francisco in Southern Leyte; Bislig City in Surigao del Sur; Iloilo City; Naga City; Sorsogon City; Panganiban and Catanduanes were at Intensity IV.

Binalbagan in Negros Occidental; Cabalian in Southern Leyte; Dimasalang in Masbate; Butuan City and Cabadbaran City were at Intensity III while Bago City and Bacolod City were at Intensity II.

Phivolcs warned that damage and aftershocks must be expected. The seismology department confirmed in an advisory that there is no threat of a tsunami.  

Phivolcs said the quake was tectonic in origin — or there was a movement in the Earth’s crust — with a depth of 63 kilometers. Shaking is more felt when quakes have lower depth. Solidum said they don’t expect a possible tsunami.

No casualties in Visayas, death toll in Luzon reaches 16

As of this writing, there were still no reported casualties in the Visayas region as of writing. However, the death toll in Luzon reached 16 according to the data released by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

Most of the fatalities were from Pampanga. The said province was declared under a state of calamity after five died from the collapsed Chuzon Supermarket in Porac, Pampanga.

Seven more came from other parts of Porac while three more deaths were recorded in two other Pampanga towns and one death in San Marcelino, Zambales.

The disaster agency said the deadly quake left 81 injured and 14 still missing in Region III. A total of 29 structures and buildings sustained damages due to the earthquake.

Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda said that the putting the province under a state of calamity will aid the region in its restoration as such would help them pick up the pieces that were damaged by the earthquake.

“Kailangan namin tulungan yung pamilya ng casualties. Pagkatapos yung mga may gumuhong bahay, kailangan nating tulungan para makabalik sila. At kailangan i-repair ang maliliit na bridges (We need to help the families of the casualties. After their houses collapsed, we need to help them to get them back on their feet. We also need to repair small bridges),” Pineda said.

“At marami tayong dapat i-consider sa mga integrity ng mga building, mga school, mga government offices natin, tignan natin kung nagkaroon ba ng malaking crack para malaman kung pwede pang i-repair (We need to consider the integrity of the buildings, schools and government offices and see if there are any large cracks so we can know if it can still be repaired),” she added.

Once a state of calamity is declared, the law provides that price controls would be automatic on basic necessities and prime commodities while local government units could appropriate calamity funds. 

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