THE Department of Transportation (DOTr) has ordered an immediate assessment of the structural integrity of major transportation hubs in Eastern Visayas and nearby regions following the magnitude 6.5 earthquake that hit Eastern Samar.
The Eastern Samar quake happened a day after a magnitude 6.1 tremor hit Zambales and affected several areas in Central Luzon, including Metro Manila. As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, 16 people were reported dead in Central Luzon.
DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said immediate assessment of the structural integrity of all major transportation hubs, such as airports, land terminals and seaports in the Eastern Visayas and nearby regions that experienced seismic intensities have to be done.
He directed transport officials to prioritize the safety of commuters waiting in transportation hubs, as well as thoroughly vet the integrity of facilities before resuming operations.
Initial reports from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap) cited that as of 2:10 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, no injuries or casualties were reported from the airports of Ormoc, Guiuan, Borongan, Maasin, Hilongos, and Catbalogan City.
According to DOTr, there were also no reported structural damage in these gateways.
"Passengers and personnel at Tacloban airport likewise are safe and unhurt, but minor cracks were seen on the ceiling in the arrival and check-in areas of the Passenger Terminal Building," it said.
There was no damage on the runway, control tower, power plant, fire station and other facilities of Tacloban airport. There was also no standby aircraft on the ramp, said the DOTr.
"Passengers in this gateway have now returned to the PTB, and are awaiting their flights," it said.
The department added that it will continue to stringently monitor the agencies’ compliance with the assessment protocol to ensure the safety of traveling Filipinos.
The epicenter of the magnitude 6.5 earthquake that Tuesday was located nine kilometers northwest of San Julian, Eastern Samar.
Rescue team were dispatched to San Julian and other affected areas to check on the effects of the tremor. Assessment is ongoing, said Eastern Samar Governor Marcelo Picardal. (SunStar Philippines)