MANILA - The town of Itbayat in Batanes province continued to experience aftershocks on Sunday after it was devastated by two strong earthquakes a day earlier.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) said at least 190 aftershocks were recorded on Sunday, with the strongest registering magnitude 3.5 at 2:49 Sunday afternoon.
Other major aftershocks were recorded at magnitude 3.4 and 3.3 earlier during the day.
PHIVOLCS said the aftershocks will continue for several days, but the agency also noted that these have been decreasing in frequency.
The aftershocks caused more rockslides along the hills of Itbayat. Fresh cracks also developed in houses and establishments that were already damaged by the quake.
Engineers in Batanes should inspect houses and buildings and certify if they can still be used, PHIVOLCS Director Renato Solidum said in an interview with ANC.
He noted that many of the structures that were damaged were traditional houses.
"My suggestion is for the new houses to be rebuilt following the building code," Solidum said.
Batanes Governor Marilou Cayco said many of the houses that were destroyed were Spanish-era structures.
“Sobrang luma na ng mga bahay directly hit, ito devastated. Tingin ko po walang bakal, lime lang 'yung iba. One hundred years na po kaya nasira,” Cayco said.
(The houses that were directly hit and devastated were very old. I think they did not use steel, only lime. They are 100 years old that's why they got damaged.)
Many residents were forced to stay outside their houses following the earthquakes out of fear that their dwellings might collapse.
Affected residents are opting to stay in tents and open fields.