AN OFFICIAL of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said an earthquake like the magnitude 6.7 earthquake in Surigao City last February 10 could happen in Cagayan de Oro City anytime.

The Office of the Building Official (OBO) should begin checking if all buildings, commercial, as well as residential can withstand an earthquake of similar magnitude, Phivolcs added.

Phivolcs-Northern Mindanao Regional Director Marcial Labininay said the region has four active faults, namely: Tagoloan River Fault, Cabanglasan Fault in Balingasag town, the fault line in Alubijid town, and Central Mindanao Fault, which is the most active and longest fault line in the region that stretches from Gingoog City to Malaybalay City in Bukidnon.

“This is not to scare people but to spread awareness para pud ma-encourage ang mga (to encourage the) local government units to collaborate with us ug makabalo sila unsay buhaton (and for them to know what should be done),” he said.

Labininay said the strongest earthquake in the region was recorded in 2002 in Bukidnon with the magnitude 5.6.

He added the longest duration of earthquake was recorded in Luzon, which lasted up to 48 seconds.

“Ang average lang gyud is 10 seconds, pero so far, sa atong nasud, wala na niabot ug one minute. Ang pinakadugay gyud sa tibuok kalibutan is sa Japan, where ilang linog didto moabot og 3-5 minutes (The average is 10 seconds, but so far in our country, it didn’t last for 1 minute. The longest duration in the whole world was in Japan where the earthquake lasted for 3-5 minutes),” he said.

Labininay also dismissed as superstition the belief that the emergence of oarfishes, like the one found in Barangay Gusa, Cagayan de Oro City last February 10, signals an impending disaster.

He said superstition has no scientific proof.

Labininay said the OBO should inspect high-rise buildings, including those whose construction is ongoing if they passed the building requirements.

“We should be ready, because earthquakes are very hard to predict,” he added.

The National Building Code of the Philippines (Republic Act 6541) stipulates that any person, firm, or corporation, including any department, office, bureau, agency of instrumentality of the government intending to construct, alter, repair, move, convert or demolish any building or structure, or cause the same to be done, shall obtain a building permit from the Building Official for whichever of such work is proposed to be undertaken for the building or structure, before any such work is started.

Structural officers at OBO will check the building foundation, beams, floorings, and the overall superstructure of the establishment.