WORK in government offices and classes up to the tertiary level in Metro Manila and Central Luzon are suspended on Tuesday, April 23, a day after a powerful quake killed at least five people.
As of 6 a.m. the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said four people were confirmed dead while seven people were rescued from the collapsed building of the Chuzon Supermarket in Porac, Pampanga. Search, rescue and retrieval operations are ongoing.
Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda earlier said at least five people were killed in the province.
Several schools, colleges and universities in Metro Manila announced the suspension of classes Tuesday to allow thorough integrity checks on their buildings.
Regular passenger service for all railway lines in Metro Manila have, however, resumed as of 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, with train insertions or deployments starting 4:30 a.m., the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said.
In its advisory, the DOTr said structural and track inspections have been completed for LRT-1, LRT-2, MRT-3, and PNR, all lines were found fit for operations.
“We thank our passengers’ patience and understanding for our suspension of operations after the earthquake yesterday afternoon, as we followed NDRRMC incident response protocols and conducted necessary structural inspections to ensure safe passenger operations,” the DOTr said.
Hundreds of passengers were stranded in the Metro last night after the MRT and LRT halted operations due to the earthquake.
In a separate statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte has already directed governors of quake-hit areas to assess the damage and ensure public safety.
"The President has directed the Governors of the affected provinces to assess the damage sustained by their respective localities and take the necessary measures to ensure public," the Palace official said.
On Monday evening, shortly after the quake struck, Panelo assured that concerned government agencies were ready to provide assistance in areas affected by the strong earthquake.
The shallow tectonic earthquake was centered near Castillejos, Zambales and was felt strongly in Central Luzon and Metro Manila.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) initially placed the quake at magnitude 5.7 with a depth of focus of 12 kilometers.
It later revised its report and said the quake was a strong magnitude 6.1 with a depth of focus of 10 kilometers.
The following areas and universities announced the cancellation of classes on April 23:
City of Manila - all levels, both public and private
City of Malolos, Bulacan - all levels, both public and private
City of Muntinlupa - all levels, both public and private
Province of Laguna - all levels, both public and private
Province of Pampanga – classes in all levels, both public and private and work
Province of Zambales - classes in all levels, both public and private and work
Metro Manila - government work
University of the Philippines Manila
University of the Philippines Diliman
University of the Philippines Los Baños
Philippine Science High School Central Luzon Campus
University of Santo Tomas
University of the Philippines Diliman Extension Program in Pampanga - classes and work
Polytechnic University of the Philippines class and work in NCR campuses except for security personnel and building inspectors
Lyceum of the Philippines University
Ateneo de Manila University
FEU Institute of Technology
Far Eastern University Manila
Far Eastern University Alabang
Far Eastern University Diliman
College of the Holy Spirit Manila
De La Salle University Manila
Philippine Women’s University
Colegio de San Juan de Letran University - work operations and all student activities
University of Makati
Roosevelt College - all campuses
Mapua University - both Intramuros and Makati campuses
Meanwhile, Metro Manila Development Authority focal person for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Michael Salalima said they are coordinating with the local government units for the conduct of inspection to ensure the integrity of government buildings especially the public school buildings.
“We want to make sure lang po na lahat ng building lalong lalo na ang mga schools at offices ay matignan po ng mas lalong ibayo para makasigurado tayo sa siguridad ng mga buildings na yan,” he said. (Ruth Abbey Gita/Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo/MVI/SunStar Philippines)