PORAC, Pampanga -- The search for survivors from a supermarket rubble in this earthquake-hit town was temporarily suspended Wednesday due to strong aftershocks and with signs of life fading.
Rescuers had clawed through smashed concrete since after the Magnitude 6.1 earthquake on Monday that left 16 people killed in Pampanga, 5 of whom were from the supermarket.
It was unclear how many people were still trapped under the rubble but cries for help had stopped, said Porac Mayor Condralito Dela Cruz.
The aftershocks that hit before dawn on Wednesday were from a Magnitude 4.5 quake that struck off neighboring Castillejos town in Zambales at 2:02 a.m.
Dela Cruz said the aftershocks could endanger the rescuers' lives, adding, "Mahirap na, baka maulit ‘yung problema...Tutal wala na tayong nakikitang life na hinahabol."
(We risk a repeat of the problem... There have been no signs of life.)
Jason Dela Cruz lost his wife and 2 children in the Chuzon supermarket collapse. He was parking their tricycle when the earthquake truck.
"Segundo lang 'di ko sila naabot. Pupuntahan ko sana, paglingon ko wala na bumagsak na 'yung building," he said.
(I missed them by mere seconds. I was supposed run to them, when I turned my back, the building had collapsed.)
Four families are still looking for their kin supposedly buried in the rubble, said National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Executive Director Ricardo Jalad.
-- with reports from Dennis Datu, and Gracie Rutao, ABS-CBN News