HUNDREDS of people evacuated, multiple buildings were damaged, and several provinces suspended work and classes due to the 7.4 earthquake that hit Surigao del Sur on Saturday evening, December 2, 2023.
The Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (DOST-Phivolcs) on December 3, upgraded the quake’s magnitude from 6.9 to 7.4. Its epicenter is 30 kilometers northeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur with a depth of 25 kilometers.
Following the quake, Phivolcs released a tsunami warning to the provinces of Davao Oriental and Surigao del Sur, however, at around 3 a.m. on Sunday, December 3, the warning was lifted.
In a Facebook post of the Provincial Government of Davao Oriental on Sunday morning, hundreds of residents fled to the provincial capitol to seek shelter from the tsunami. Once the alarm was stopped, the residents returned to the comforts of their homes.
On the heels of the recent earthquake that struck the province, the scheduled holiday market, raffles, and band performances were temporarily canceled.
About 2,700 residents of Mati City were seeking temporary shelter at Golden Valley, Provincial Capitol, and Matiao National High School when the Phivolcs released the tsunami warning.
Similarly, residents of Surigao del Sur fled to safety as the earthquake shook the province. According to the report of the Philippine Information Agency-Surigao del Sur (PIA-Surigao del Sur), many people vacated their homes and buildings and proceeded to an open space. Surigaonons also seek safety to the Telaje Covered Court, Provincial Capital Road, Barangay Telaje, Tandag City.
The Surigao del Sur Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) instructed the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to request all local chief executives of the province to promptly submit an initial assessment of the losses caused by the earthquake that struck the region.
Meanwhile, in a Facebook post of the Province of Davao de Oro, patients of the Davao de Oro Provincial Hospital-Montevista (DdOPH-Montevista) were relocated to a temporary shelter as assessments on the structural integrity of the hospital were being done by the personnel from PDRRMO; Provincial Engineer’s Office (PEO); Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO); and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).
Other patients coming from the DdOPH-Maragusan, Laak, and Pantukan were able to return to the hospital once the assessment determined that the structural was safe.
Officials from the Municipality of Monkayo Rapid Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis (RDANA) gathered on December 3 at the Operation Center (OpCen) to discuss the ongoing inspection and the pre-deployment briefing that will be done to all municipality centers and facilities affected but the earthquake. The meeting was ordered by Monkayo Mayor Manuel E. Zamora to the officials of the municipality to ensure the safety and well-being of the residents of Monkayo.
Suspension of work and classes
The Matina Crossing Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Committee (BDRRMC) advised the public to refrain from using the Matina Crossing overpass. The BDRRMC temporarily closed the structure and will open it for public use once it is declared safe to be used again.
Davao del Norte Governor Edwin I. Jubahib and Davao de Oro Governor Dorothy Montejo Gonzaga both issued a memorandum on December 3, in their respective provinces for the suspension of work and classes in all public and private agencies. Both officials also advised that the resumption of classes will be subject to the discretion of the respective local chief executive in their areas.
In line with the memorandum, Panabo City Mayor Jose E. Relampagos, suspended classes at all levels both in public and private schools, as well as work in government offices on December 4, 2023, to assess the effects of the earthquake.
Likewise, the Municipality of Monkayo suspended classes at all levels both in private and public schools for Monday, December 4. The office also released a work suspension for the employees of the Local Government Unit (LGU) since damages were seen in the offices of the municipality.
Through an executive order, six localities in the province of Davao Oriental have also announced their suspension of classes, namely Baganga, Manay, City of Mati, Banaybanay, Lupon, and Cateel. This is to make way for the deployment of the Rapid Damage Assessment and Need Analysis Team to inspect the structural integrity of schools, buildings, facilities, and all the public infrastructure in the city.
Damages brought by the earthquake
As per the December 3, 11 a.m. situational report of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council-Davao Region (RDRRMC-Davao)-Emergency Operations Center (EOC), there was one reported casualty in Tagum City, Davao del Norte. Four individuals sustained injuries in Tagum City, Mawab, and Pantukan in Davao de Oro.
While in Tagum City and New Corella, Davao del Norte, there have been reports of minor infrastructure damages. Davao City and Boston, Davao Oriental, have also reported some damages to their infrastructure.
The Davao City Information Office (CIO) said that several structures were reportedly damaged due to the earthquake. The southbound lane of the Bolton Bridge is temporarily closed as of 2 a.m. on Sunday, December 3, to all vehicles as advised by the Department of Public Works and Highways-Davao Region (DPWH-Davao).
DPWH together with the City Engineer’s Office (CEO) and the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) will conduct further assessment of the bridge.
Meanwhile, the RDRRMC-Davao through the Office of the Civil Defense-Davao Region (OCD-Davao) has raised the alert status of its EOC to Red alert. OCD-Davao as the chair of the RDRRMC-Davao issued Memorandum No. 134, series of 2023, on Sunday, December 3, for the swift mobilization of assistance from the regional level to the places devastated by the recent earthquake. RGP