7.2-magnitude quake hits Bohol, 20 killed

CEBU (10th Update) – A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake jolted Carmen, Bohol and other parts of the Visayas and Mindanao Tuesday morning, killing at least 20 persons and injuring dozens others.

At least 15 people were confirmed killed in Cebu City, four in Bohol and one in Siquijor.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) in a press briefing said 33 others were reported injured during the earthqauke. The report said 19 people were injured in Mandaue City when a portion of the public market collapsed, six in Toledo City and eight in Pinamungahan were injured in a stampede.

Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgar Labella said in radio interview that the four were killed after a slab from the fish market fell on them.

“We’re quite fortunate today is a holiday, not too many people in (office) buildings,” he said.

Another report said two persons were killed when part of a public market in Mandaue City in Cebu collapsed. Seventeen others were reportedly injured.

Neil Sanchez of the local disaster council in Cebu told ANC that a school building has collapsed in Talisay City and several schoolchildren were trapped in the debris.

Damage to property have been observed in Cebu and Bohol, where centuries-old churches in Loon and Loboc towns collapsed.

The famous Baclayon church, meanwhile, had cracks in its facade and damaged bell fray, said Tagbilaran Archbishop Leonardo Medroso.

“The provincial disaster risk reduction management council is already busy with the rescue efforts. We assure our people that the provincial government is extending assistance to the affected residents,” said Bohol Provincial Board Member Yul Lopez in a television interview.

A magnitude-6.8 quake also jolted Bohol in February 1990, which triggered a tsunami

Philippine Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) Director Renato Solidum Jr. said in a radio interview that there is no indication the quake can cause a tsunami and damage since its origin is inland.

Phivolcs has so far recorded 110 aftershocks since the magnitude 7.2 earthquake hit Bohol at 8:12 Tuesday morning.

Radio reports said the quake was felt in Cebu and parts of Negros Oriental, and even as far as Iligan City in Mindanao.

Phivolcs said the quake occurred at 8:12 a.m., with the epicenter at 2 kilometers southeast of Carmen in Bohol. It was tectonic in origin.

Several structures were destroyed in Bohol, including the centuries old churches in Loboc and Loon. Three people were reportedly trapped.

Bohol was last hit by a powerful earthquake in 1999.

Several buildings in Cebu collapsed or have sustained damage, including the centuries old Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino in downtown Cebu City.

In Iloilo, the quake prompted motorists to stop vehicles and many people to run out of buildings.

A brownout hit Iloilo City after the quake.

Construction workers at a construction site in Mandurriao in Iloilo quickly left the site when they felt the quake.

The Philippine Coast Guard on Tuesday suspended trips to Cebu after the strong quake. Coast Guard commandant Rear Admiral Rodolfo Isorena also placed personnel in Cebu and Bohol on high alert.

Major airports and most ports in Visayas were cleared by the Department of Transportation and Communications for operations.

In a radio interview, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said Mactan International Airport in Lapu-Lapu City was cleared for operations following an inspection.

Abaya also said Tagbilaran Airport in Bohol sustained some damages. The ceiling of the airport terminal collapsed, but said it can operate after a brief cleanup. However, he said Tagbilaran Port may have to undergo further inspection.

Classes in the cities of Cebu and Dumaguete in Central Visayas will be suspended Wednesday to allow an inspection of the schools there, the Philippine Information Agency reported.