An earthquake of 6.9 magnitude shook the province of Bohol at 11:48 AM on February 6, 2012, exactly 22 years ago when a tremor of 6.8 magnitude shattered the province on February 8, 1990 at about 3:15 PM and 16 years back when another one of 5.6 magnitude on May 27, 1996. The tremor caught the people in government and private offices and schools flat-footed and panic but no one was reported hurt but it did not spare some buildings, mostly old public school buildings, from damages, reports from municipalities said. In provincial Capitol, employees ran for their life for safety when the building swinging for few seconds. In the city’s private and public schools and universities, students and teachers alike went out of their classes when they felt the concrete floors moved under their feet.
In an interview, Engr. Nolan Evangelista, in-charge of the local of state-run Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) office, confirmed the tremor marked 6.9 magnitude and intensity five. He said that after the earthquake tsunami alert number two was hoisted nationwide for preventive measure but was lifted after 2:30 PM. This is being corroborated by the Philippine Coast Guard based here. Text messages that tsunami would hit the province were spread like wildfire but Evangelista said there was no truth to it as mobile phone users could hardly make contacts to their relatives minutes after the tremor. Evangelista said there might be some problems encountered in cell sites in areas affected by the earthquake that caused the non-transmittal of SMS or text. Texting further fanned tension and fear among the city residents and nearby towns as some families tried to fetch their children in school for safety.
The epicenter that was not earlier identified is located somewhere in Guihulngan town, Negros Oriental and affected the provinces of Cebu and Bohol, he said. More than a thousand aftershocks few days after were felt but of lesser magnitude, he added. Heads of public schools under the city division declared no classes in the afternoon for precautionary measure. Most of the tertiary schools appeared ignoring the classes suspension while some of their teachers skipped classes they’re handling to fetch their school children. Reports have it that DepEd said that as far as suspension of classes in colleges that depends largely on the school administration. A parent expressed disgust why Holy Name University administration did not cause the suspension of classes in the afternoon as a precautionary step. In fact, he said, that some of the university teachers left their classes reportedly to fetch their schoolchildren for safety. The university administration only suspended classes after the 5:30 PM classes, report said.
Gov. Edgar Chatto, who was reportedly in Cebu for an engagement, expressed concern over the reported tremor. He immediately ordered the suspension of government offices as a “precautionary measure.” It was also intended for parents to fetch their children from elementary and secondary schools classes. Three hours after, Vice-Gov. Concepcion O. Lim, officer-in-charge of the Governor’s Office, issued Notice dated February 06, 2012, suspending provincial government works of all offices “for general safety of all employees” of the province.
No estimate yet in terms of pesos as to damage of mostly public school buildings that bore fractures as a result of the deadly earthquake. Some public school buildings, including the old ones, were not spared from the earthquake of 6.9 magnitude that hit practically the entire province. Two classrooms of the city’s East Central Elementary School are declared unfit for classes by school authorities. Grades II and VI classes have to be transferred to nearby library building across the street to hold class sessions, said school principal Marcelino Pelin in an interview. He said that Grade VI classroom and home economics building bore cracks on its old concrete wall and Grade II classroom’s concrete wall is tilting towards outside that will eventually collapse. Some of the school classrooms also bore line-cracks that may be repaired, he said. Some schools in the city division, including Manga Elementary School also bore fracture on their concrete walls and floors in these school edifices.
In an interview, Mayor Miguelito Galendez of Garcia-Hernandez, Bohol confirmed several cracks some of which are minors only on public schools in his town. Some of these are the elementary school of hinterland barangay Abijilan, about 10 kms. and Central elementary schools. He said these buildings are already old that need refurbish. Mayor Fortunato Abrenilla, in separate interview, also bared some insignificant damages of public schools buildings. In Sikatuna, Badiang elementary school’s HE building was not spared from fractures caused by the temblor, said Mayor Jose Ellorimo in an interview yesterday. He said that he advised the DepEd to abandon the said building which is already in its old age because it is almost collapsing. It needs to be demolished to prevent schoolchildren from being harmed. He added that some minimal cracks are also visible on the high school buildings. Reports have it that the Provincial Disaster Rick Reduction Management Council (PRRDMC) is assessing damages in the aftermath of the earthquake and collating reports from the municipalities.
Mayor Roberto Cajes of Trinidad town, who is now the president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines Bohol chapter, dismissed yesterday the report that his new municipal building bore cracks as a result of the temblor. He said it is not true that the new building inaugurated by President Noynoy Aquino on August 2, 2011 suffered fractures. He said that those who want to see for themselves they may come and visit the municipality. He said that he is grateful that no report from his town of any destruction from the earthquake. He added that as head of the LMP he already notified and urged his fellow mayors in other towns to report to LMP office for any damage in their respective turfs. There were no reports of land movement or cracks in the mountain barangays Mayana, Jagna town and Matin-ao, Sierra-Bullones, where the land movement were experienced in past months that destroyed some houses in barangay Magsaysay.
The province of Bohol had its share of this deadly natural phenomenon in earth movement called earthquake. An earthquake of 6.8 magnitude hit the province on February 8, 1990 at about 3:15 PM and damaged infra and properties costing some PhP150 million plus. The earthquake’s epicenter was reportedly located somewhere in Anda town. It killed six people and some 200 injured while it displaced more than 14,000 residents and rendered some 7,000 homeless. Anda town’s centuries-old Catholic church suffered cracks on its thick stone wall while belfry of Jagna and Garcia-hernandez churches were also damaged. The concrete Alejawan bridge that divide the towns of Jagna and Duero towns collapsed that rendered the national highway impassable aside from some deep splits along the roads. The town proper and coastal barangays of Jagna and G-Hernandez, at that time, virtually became ghost towns as the residents took evacuation route to higher grounds for fear of tidal wave or tsunami. Six years ago on May 27 (1996), another earthquake of 5.6 magnitude hit the province whose epicenter was located near Clarin town. Damages of properties and infra were also reported but no one was hurt or died. Clarin Catholic church suffered cracks on its concrete walls. It badly affected the towns of Inabanga, Trinidad, Tubigon and Loay. (RVO)