Local chief executives in central Mindanao suspended classes in all levels in both public and private schools following the magnitude 6.3 quake that hit North Cotabato and some parts of Mindanao on Wednesday night.
The quake epicenter, which was tectonic in origin, was traced 22 kilometers southeast of Tulunan, North Cotabato with a depth of 15 kilometers, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.
Here in the city, Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi declared the suspension of classes as the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office is set to conduct an ocular inspection on all structures in the locality.
“We have to ensure the safety of everyone following a natural disaster such as earthquakes,” the mayor said.
In Maguindanao province, Governor Bai Mariam Sangki-Mangudadatu also declared the suspension of classes in all levels.
Tim Ambolodto, chief of the Maguindanao provincial disaster risk reduction management office (PDRRMO), said their office is coordinating with municipal disaster risk reduction and management offices together with the Bureau of Fire Protection for damage assessment of all school buildings in the province.
The PDRRMO is also trying to verify the reported death of a grade-schooler of the Tucao Madidis Central Elementary School in Datu Paglas town after a part of the school wall collapsed.
In North Cotabato, acting Governor Emmylou Taliño–Mendoza also directed the suspension of classes for the safety of the children. Patients from the Kidapawan Doctor’s Hospital and other infirmaries were also rushed out of the facilities due to the quake. Tents were provided for the patients at the roadside.
Power was also partially restored in Kidapawan City and other towns in the province that experienced a total blackout following the quake.
Engr. Rainier Amilbahar, Phivolcs – Cotabato officer, said hardest hit areas were the towns of Tulunan, Kabacan, and Makilala.
“There is an ongoing assessment to damaged properties in the hardest-hit areas,” he said.
The Office of Civil Defense in Region 12 posted in its bulletin the suspension of classes and work in affected towns and cities in the provinces of North Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, and South Cotabato.
In North Cotabato, suspension of work and classes were declared in the city of Kidapawan and the towns of Tulunan, Kabacan, Arakan, Magpet, M’lang, President Roxas, Carmen, Makilala, and Matalam.
Work at the provincial government was also suspended but department heads were advised to report for the conduct of damage assessment.
In Sarangani, postponement of both work and classes were declared in the towns of Malungon, Kiamba, Maasim, Alabel, Malapatan, Glan, and Maitum.
In Sultan Kudarat, work and classes also postponed in Tacurong City and the towns of Lambayong, Columbio, Isulan, and Esperanza.
In South Cotabato, the same work and class suspension were implemented in the towns of Tupi, Norala, T’boli, and Tantangan.(By Noel Punzalan)