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.)