MANILA (UPDATE 2) — At least 7 were reported dead, 2 reported injured and 2 were missing in the magnitude-6.8 earthquake that struck parts of southern Mindanao, the state disaster risk reduction and monitoring office said on Saturday.
Director Edgardo Posadas of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said these deaths have yet to be validated.
Of the 7 reported fatalities, one was recorded in Jose Abad Santos in Davao Occidental, another in Malapatan and two in Glen — both in Sarangani.
Three were reported dead in General Santos City.
"Mayroon tayong reported missing, 2. Mayroon tayong reported injuries, pero initial report pa lang, 2. Mayroong naitala na 450 indibidwal that required medical care," Posadas told Teleradyo Serbisyo.
"Ni-raise natin ang ating alert kahapon to Blue. Ibig sabihin niyan... mas maigting ang pagbabantay natin physically lalo na ang particular services, lalo na sa uniformed services, sa PNP, Coast Guard, at Bureau of Fire Protection," he said.
Blue alert means personnel are on 24-hour duty and hospitals and health facilities are ready to treat injuries and emergencies.
Medicines and supplies are also ready for distribution to affected areas.
NDRRMC's response cluster nationwide will meet today to further assess the situation, he said.
"At least in so far as [Soccsksargen] is concerned, the regional director said enough pa naman ang mga supplies nila doon," he said.
Aftershocks are continuously being reported in southern Mindanao, he said.
In an interview on ANC, NDRRMC Deputy Spokesperson Mark Timbal said power and communication lines were already restored in affected areas.
"This power interruption was part of the precautionary measures to prevent further accidents such as electrocution and fires from happening. Some of these power interruptions have already been restored," Timbal said.
"Some areas especially in General Santos City have power already. Some radio stations are already working there because of power restoration," he said.
The social welfare department, for its part, said it already earmarked some P14.2 million for victims of the quake. This will be disbursed in the regions of Northern Mindanao, Davao, and Soccsksargen in the form of food and non-food items.
Social Welfare Secretary Rex Gatchalian has already ordered his agency's regional offices to track down the affected families so they could extend several cash assistances and other form of help to those who need it.
3 DEAD IN GENSAN, NEARLY 300 RUSHED TO HOSPITAL
General Santos Mayor Lorelie Geronimo-Pacquiao said 3 people were reported dead in her city because of the quake.
The city also recorded damage to infrastructure like malls and other private establishments.
"May babaeng nagtatrabaho sa parlor na hindi nakalabas agad. Namatay... tapos mag-asawa na parang natumbahan ng pader sa isang compound," Geronimo-Pacquiao said.
Meanwhile, almost 300 patients, including children, were rushed to Dr. Jorge P. Royeca City Hospital on Friday night.
These students were participating in an activity in their school gymnasium when the quake struck, said the mayor.
"Noong nangyari yung lindol andoon yung mga bata. Halos andon 'yung dinala namin," she said.
"So far kagabi, simula nang dinala sila, parang doktor na rin kami ng asawa ko kasi hindi na alam kung sinong uunahin. Lahat ng doktor, lahat ng nurses, kanya-kanyang bitbit ng pasyente kasi ang dami," she said.
Some students experienced panic attacks and were already sent home last night. Only 7 students remained in hospitals as of Saturday morning, according to the local official.
"Maya-maya may dating. Kung ikaw ay nandoon sa harapan parang ang sakit tingnan. Sino ba ang uunahin mo para lang ma-assist sila kaagad," she said.
"Nakauwi sila mga 9:30 ng gabi... Dahan-dahan nating pinauwi. And then sa other private hospital, mayroon din tayong naka-confine pero mga minor lang sila."
1 DEAD IN DAVAO OCCIDENTAL
In a separate interview on Teleradyo Serbisyo, Jose Abad Santos Mayor Jason John Joyce said one person was reported dead in his town.
The casualty, a male senior citizen, was crushed by a huge rock from a mountain.
"Yung bahay nila is nasa gilid ng kalsada at yung kalsada ay nasa gilid ng bundok," Joyce said.
Public school buildings were damaged by the strong quake, he said, including a national high school. They recommended to condemn the building and cancel classes in some areas, he said.
MARCOS: NO NEED TO RUSH HOME FOR QUAKE RESPONSE
President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., who is in San Francisco, said he already called on relevant agencies to monitor the situation and act on the needs of residents.
Marcos, Jr. said he would "go home"and cut short his weeklong trip to the US if "there was something that's need to be done that cannot be done by anybody but myself."
Vice President Sara Duterte is in charge of the executive branch while the President is abroad.
"But as I said, alam na nila ang gagawin eh. That’s my hope — we tried to organize the government in such a way that these are standard operating procedures already. You don’t have to question of what do we do next, nakasulat na lahat ‘yan," Marcos, Jr. said.
"In general the communication system stayed up, power stayed on, water is still running."
— with a report from Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News