Phivolcs says earthquake warning a hoax

THE Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said the impending magnitude 7 earthquake that would hit Davao City being shared online is a hoax.

“This news is definitely not from Phivolcs,” Phivolcs Science Research Specialist Janila Deocampo told SunStar Davao Friday, February 24.

Deocampo's statement came after the circulation of unverified information posted in various social media platforms that the city will experience a big earthquake between February 24 and March 8.

“It has come to our attention that these messages/articles/news are still circulating in Facebook. We cannot predict when or where an earthquake will happen. There is no reliable technology in the world that can confidently predict the date, time and location of large earthquakes,” Phivolcs said in a separate statement.

They urged the public to refrain from sharing the fake information and encouraged them to visit the Phivolcs website as well as their Facebook and Twitter pages for more information about earthquake and preparedness materials.

“What we do is prepare earthquake scenarios of hazards and impacts to be used as guide for mitigation, preparedness and response,” Phivolcs said.

For his part, Office of Civil Defense (OCD) regional director Leoncio Cirunay dismissed the rumors saying that there are no such instruments that can predict when earthquakes will hit a certain area and how strong it will be.

“Hindi po totoo yan. Hindi nahuhulaan kailan darating ang earthquake lalo na kung gaano kalakas. Phivolcs lang po tayo maniwala (It's not true. We cannot predict when an earthquake strikes and how strong it is. Just believe in Phivolcs). Anyway there is no harm to be prepared. Yan nagpakalat ng balita yan (The one who spread the news) is an irresponsible person because it will create panic to our people,” he said.

Cirunay said he would not discount the possibility if a strong earthquake would hit the city but the chances are remote.

“Pwede (Maybe) but we cannot really tell when and how strong,” he said.

At present, Cirunay said the responders are undertaking more earthquake drills for the people to raise awareness about the appropriate things to do when it occurs.

Cirunay advised the citizens to remain calm and be alert if these calamities would really hit the city.

The emergency responders, he added, are capable enough to respond if a strong earthquake would hit the city.

“Our incident managements are ready. We have more 1000 responders who are well trained. But we need more information dissemination for the public on what to do during an earthquake,” he said.

The OCD is requiring all hotels, malls, terminals, schools, and universities to conduct regular earthquake drills quarterly and constantly coordinate with the local government unit.

On Thursday morning, a magnitude 4.6 earthquake jolted Davao City. There are two other aftershocks that were felt around 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the same day.

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake also struck Montevista, Compostela Valley.
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