According to the US Geological Survey, the Philippines experienced a magnitude 6.2 earthquake on Thursday. Fortunately, there have been no immediate reports of damage. The earthquake occurred at a depth of 112 kilometers (77 miles) around 10:00 am (0200 GMT) in the waters near Calatagan town, which is approximately a three-hour drive from Manila, the capital.
Emil Mendoza, the police chief of Calatagan, mentioned that he and his staff quickly moved outside when the tremors were felt. The earthquake was also felt across densely populated areas, including Manila. Mendoza described the tremors as relatively strong, requiring them to evacuate the buildings. Although there are currently no reports of casualties or damage, disaster authorities have been deployed to assess the impact of the earthquake.
Ronald Torres, the disaster officer of Calatagan, stated that the earthquake lasted between 30 seconds and a minute. The national seismological agency warned of potential aftershocks but ruled out the possibility of tsunami waves due to the earthquake’s depth.
The earthquake caused people in the capital to rush out of buildings. Temporary closures of runways and taxiways were implemented at Ninoy Aquino International Airport to inspect the pavement for any signs of damage. The metro system in the capital was also temporarily halted to ensure the safety of the tracks.
Images shared on social media and verified by AFP showed a crane truck at a Manila port swaying from the force of the tremors.
Diego Mariano, an information officer at the civil defense office, stated that authorities are still assessing the impact of the earthquake. He reported that, as of now, there have been no major damages or casualties. However, the assessment is ongoing.
Earthquakes are a regular occurrence in the Philippines due to its location along the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” which is characterized by intense seismic and volcanic activities stretching from Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.
The Philippines has experienced devastating earthquakes in the past. In October 2013, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck Bohol Island, resulting in landslides and claiming the lives of over 200 people. Historical churches in the birthplace of Catholicism in the Philippines were severely damaged, displacing nearly 400,000 individuals and causing extensive house damage. In 1990, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake in the northern Philippines caused a ground rupture spanning over a hundred kilometers, resulting in significant destruction and claiming the lives of more than 1,200 people.