At least five persons died and 53 were injured after a 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit Mindanao early Wednesday evening, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
Mayor Reuel Limbungan of Tulunan town in North Cotabato said a seven-year-old child was declared dead on arrival in a town hospital. The child, according to the mayor, is a resident of Datu Paglas, Maguindanao.
In nearby town of M'lang, Tony Panangulon also died due to heart attack. Panangulon, who was in his early 40's, was rushed to the hospital but was also declared dead on arrival by the attending physician.
The death of Panagulon was confirmed by M'lang Vice Mayor Joselito Piñol.
In Davao del Sur, two people were reportedly killed in a landslide in Magsaysay town, according to Mark Makalalad's report on Dobol B sa News TV, citing reports reaching the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.
The NDRRMC said 53 injuries were reported in Regions XI, XII, and BARMM as of 5 p.m. Thursday.
Of the 53 injured, 45 have been rushed to the Digos City, Kidapawan, and Makilala hospitals.
In a hospital in Kidapawan, patients were brought outdoors when the earth shook.
The NDRRMC also reported that 511 families or 2,555 people in Region XII were affected by the quake.
The families have returned to their homes on Thursday morning after they were evacuated on Wednesday night.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) recorded the epicenter of the quake in Tulunan, Cotabato.
As of 3 p.m. Thursday, 314 aftershocks--168 of which were plotted while 5 were felt--were recorded in several parts of Mindanao according to the NDRRMC.
The aftershocks had magnitudes ranging from 1.5 to 5.5 and intensities of I to VII.
"We felt a very strong jolt and there was a blackout. I saw people rushing down. We were panicking, heading to the exit," said Naru Guarda Cabaddu, a hotel consultant visiting Kidapawan City, between the epicenter of the quake and Davao.
The Philippines is on the geologically active Pacific Ring of Fire and experiences frequent earthquakes.
"I was driving back home when I felt a very powerful shake. I stopped and saw people and patients running out of the hospital," Raprap Rafael, a resident of Kidapawan City, told Reuters. "I'm not sleeping at my home tonight."
Renato Solidum, PHIVOLCS head, said in a television interview aftershocks could be strong and capable of causing severe damage.
"Aftershocks can happen. Some can be felt most likely in low intensities. But we cannot remove the possibility of similar intensities that can be felt in the epicentral area," he said. — with Ferdinandh Cabrera, Julia Mari Orneda and Reuters/BAP/KBK, LDF, GMA News