Amid chaos, Batangas gov sees 'miracle' in quakes

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 09 2017 01:49 PM | Updated as of Apr 09 2017 02:54 PM

MANILA - Although a series of earthquakes damaged buildings and caused residents to scramble for safer grounds in Batangas province on Saturday, the incident may be deemed a "miracle," the provincial governor claimed Sunday.

Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas said the province was spared from greater harm because a fault line in the area moved several times and caused Saturday's quakes, instead of releasing energy in a single tremor that would have been more destructive.

"Ang tawag ko dito ay 'Himala sa Batangas.' Dapat siguro ito ay dapat iisa lang na malakas pero dahil napaghati... eh di na-distribute ang impact. Patuloy naman ang ating pananalangin na hanggang dito na lang," Mandanas said in a phone interview with radio DZMM.

(I call this the 'Miracle of Batnagas.' The quakes could have been a single tremor but it split, so the impact was distributed. We continue praying that it will end soon.)

Earthquakes jolted Mabini town in Batangas Saturday afternoon. The first tremor was a magnitude 5.7 at 3:08 p.m., followed by a magnitude 5.9 a minute later.

A third quake measuring magnitude 5.0 hit Taysan town in Batangas 20 minutes later.

Fault lines cause less damage by releasing energy in several earthquakes instead of just one go, according to John Deximo, a science research analyst at the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

"Mas magandang nagre-release ng energy [ang faults] paunti-unti," Deximo told ABS-CBN News.

ZERO DEATH TOLL

Saturday's quakes damaged buildings and caused power outages across Batangas, but caused no casualties, Mandanas said.

He added that only 3 residents were injured so far.

The tremors did not damage the province's power plants, which supply 60 percent of electricity needs in Luzon. It also spared oil depots and refineries, Mandanas shared.

The national government has distributed relief supplies to the province and has pre-positioned P1.159 million worth of stockpiles and standby funds, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

The Philippines lies on the so-called Ring of Fire, a vast region around the Pacific Ocean where many of the world's earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.

A 6.5-magnitude quake killed eight people and left more than 250 injured outside the southern city of Surigao in February, and another 5.9-magnitude tremor killed one person there last month.

-- With reports from Dexter Ganibe, DZMM; Agence France-Presse