MANILA - A magnitude 7.1 undersea earthquake that struck off Davao Occidental on Thursday night was felt in the whole island of Mindanao, a scientist from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.
The tectonic temblor hit past 8 p.m. at a depth of 116 km, around 200 kilometers southeast of Jose Abad Santos town.
According to Phivolcs' Earthquake Intensity Scale (PEIS), a magnitude 7 tremor is considered "destructive."
"Malakas talaga siya. 'Yung pagyanig actually hindi lang sa Davao Occidental kundi sa buong Mindanao actually, naramdaman as far as Camiguin nga," Phivolcs science research assistant Tom Simborio told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
Despite the temblor's strength, Phivolcs and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there's no tsunami threat. Simborio explained that since the quake struck deep, a tsunami is unlikely.
"So magnitude niya is 7.1, tapos 'yung malalim naman siya, so no tsunami threat po," Simborio said.
"Sa parameters po natin ngayon na 116 km 'yung lalim, no tsunami threat po yung inaasahan natin," he added.
Residents in General Santos City felt the earthquake at its strongest at Intensity 5, prompting them to temporarily leave their houses. Intensity 4 was recorded in Davao City.
Simborio said damage is not expected but aftershocks are likely.
"Since Intensity 5 lang naman siya, walang pa pong naitatalang damage, we are not expecting damages. Pero we are expecting aftershocks kapag ganito kalaki yung magnitude," he said.
He said aftershocks are usually weaker than the main tremor.
Simborio said residents can either stay at or return home as long as their houses were not damaged.
"Pwede na silang bumalik, pwede na silang mag-stay as long as kung titingnan mga bahay nila, walang mga damage," he said.
Jose Abad Santos mayor Jason John Joyce meanwhile said there was no major damage in his town following the earthquake.
Davao City disaster management chief Alfredo Baloran also said there is no reported damage but authorities and rescue teams in the city are on alert for the possible aftershocks.
He also advised the security guards and civil security units not to occupy private and government buildings and structures that sustained damage in previous earthquakes.--With a report from Hernel Tocmo