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Masbate quake damages coliseum, causes power outage, class suspensions

Power interruptions, class suspensions, and hospital evacuation have been reported following a magnitude 6 earthquake that hit Batuan, Masbate early Thursday, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said.

In its 7 a.m. bulletin, the OCD said electricity supply in Masbate and Ticao Island was interrupted while work and class schedules were suspended in the entire province.

A report on Balitanghali said some portions of the Magallanes Coliseum were damaged by the quake.

Patients of Masbate Provincial Hospital were transferred to tents outside the facility, but no patients were reported hurt, the OCD said.

No major damage has been reported so far, it added, as concerned authorities are still conducting assessment, coordination, and monitoring the earthquake's impact.

“Minimal ang damage, pinapa-account na namin yung mga building, government at saka commercial buildings na may mga cracks. We are providing also the necessary support,” Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said.

(The damage is minimal. We have ordered the accounting of government and commercial buildings, especially those that have cracks. We are also providing the necessary support.) 

According to Chino Gaston’s “24 Oras” report, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) has recorded over a hundred aftershocks. 

In a radio interview, San Fernando, Masbate Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Marian Joy Alindogan said only one house was partially damaged after their assessment of two of the 26 barangays affected by the quake.

“Medyo mahina naman po yung mga aftershocks na nararamdaman so safe naman po bumalik sa kani-kanilang mga bahay,” she said in an interview on Dobol B TV.

(The aftershocks were weak so it is safe for the affected residents to return to their homes.)

In a separate radio interview, Masbate public information chief Jun Bagalihog said some public roads, especially the national road in Batuan, had cracks. Some roads were closed to traffic due to the danger posed by the cracks, he added.

“In our provincial health office, 'yung four-storey building ng provincial health office, nagkaroon ng cracks ang mga dingding (the walls of our four-storey Provincial Health Office building sustained cracks),” he said.

The OCD reminded the public to exercise the “duck, cover, and hold” protocol during an earthquake to minimize the number of casualties.

The magnitude 6.0 earthquake occurred southwest of Batuan at 2:10 a.m. on Thursday, PHIVOLCS said.

The quake was tectonic in origin with a depth of 10 kilometers.

PHIVOLCS initially reported a 5.7-magnitude quake, and damage and aftershocks can be expected. —Joviland Rita and Sherylin Untalan/KBK/AOL/VBL, GMA Integrated News