MANILA - A magnitude 6.5 earthquake rocked Cotabato and neighboring areas on Thursday morning, opening cracks in buildings and sending terrified locals into the streets as the region reeled from 2 other powerful temblors earlier this month.
The tectonic tremor struck 33 kilometers northeast of Tulunan town, which was also the epicenter of Tuesday's magnitude 6.6 quake and a magnitude 6.3 temblor last Oct. 16.
"Wala ka nang makitang tao na nasa loob ng bahay. Lahat ngayon andito sa kalye, andito sa open spaces," said Tulunan Mayor Reuel Limbungan.
(You won't see anyone inside their houses. Everyone is in the streets, open spaces.)
"Ninety percent" of the structures in Barangay Daig had collapsed in the 2 previous quakes and several more covered courts and government health centers across the town were damaged by the latest temblor, he told radio DZMM.
In neighboring Kidapawan City, the quake flattened to the ground a hotel in front of the city hall, severely injuring several people, said local disaster officer Psalmer Bernalte.
"Talagang gumuho ito, fully nag-collapse iyong building. Takbo nang takbo itong ating mga ambulance dahil apparently meron talagang malubhang na-injured at sana naman hindi tayo aabot doon sa punto na maraming natabunan ng debris," he said.
(The building fully collapsed. Our ambulances are responding there because some people were severely injured. We hope that we will not reach the point where many more are trapped under the debris.)
President Rodrigo Duterte was in his hometown Davao City when the quake struck. He is safe, said Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo.
Some Davao City locals fainted due to the latest quake that also opened huge cracks in the 3-story Ecoland 4000 condominium behind a mall, reporters said.
Duterte was in Davao City when the quake struck.
Classes in all levels are suspended in Davao City on Thursday due to the quake, the local government said on Facebook.
At a depth of 2 kilometers, the quake was felt in the following areas:
Intensity VII - Tulunan, Cotabato; Kidapawan City; Bansalan, Davao del Sur
Intensity VI - Matanao, Davao Del Sur
Intensity VII - Kidapawan City
Intensity V- Malungon, Sarangani
Intensity IV- Kiamba and Alabel,Sarangani; Tupi, South Cotabato; Koronadal City;
General Santos City
Intensity III - Gingoog City; Cagayan De Oro City
The US Geological Survey measured the tremor at magnitude 6.8. There was no threat of a tsunami, it added.
More details to follow.