MASBATE CITY (PIA)—A 63-year-old retired police colonel was pinned to death while several others were injured following a strong earthquake that rocked Masbate province and other areas in Central Philippines on Tuesday morning, August 18.
Felipe Cabataña, the mayor of the town nearest to the epicenter of the magnitude 6.6 earthquake, told a local radio interview that Col. Gilbert Sauro was inside his multi-floor house at Sitio Alimango, Barangay Concepcion in Cataingan town, Masbate when the earthquake struck at 8:03 a.m.
Sauro was crushed by a falling concrete beam and was declared dead at the Cataingan District Hospital in Cataingan, according to lead rescuer Neptali Pusing, head of the Bureau of Fire Protection in Cataingan.
Dr. Jovan Lim, head of Cataingan District Hospital, confirmed the death of Sauro.
Local disaster management officials reported that several other people in Cataingan and adjoining towns were injured and were treated in rural health units.
In Pio V. Corpus town, where the jolt was felt at Intensity 7, Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (MDRRM) Officer Mary Grace Barliso said she recorded two injured persons.
Era Menchavez dela Peña, manager of local radio station Kairos FM, reported that a landslide occurred at Barangay Bugtong in Pio V. Corpus town.
In Palanas town, where the temblor was also felt at Intensity 7, at least 21 persons suffered injuries, according to MDRRM Officer Chris Jo Adique.
The quake also damaged several buildings in Cataingan, including those housing the Public Attorney’s Office, municipal public market, municipal police station as well as the docking area of Cataingan port.
Even some houses built of light materials in Cataingan were toppled during the quake, photos taken by the local chapter of Philippine Red Cross showed.
Cracks in the concrete roads were observed in Cataingan and in its adjoining towns. The jolt destroyed the approach of Nabangig Bridge in Palanas town.
Still, all roads and bridges across Masbate mainland have remained passable to vehicles, according to Col. Joriz A. Cantoria, police director for Masbate.
Some people in Cataingan, Palanas and Pio V. Corpus continued to stay outside, fearful of more collapses, as aftershocks continued to rattle the towns, including a magnitude 3.7 jolt Tuesday afternoon.
Leni Torrevillas, chief of the station here of Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), said she has counted 36 aftershocks of different sizes since Tuesday morning’s strong quake.
Phivolcs reported that the epicenter of the main quake, which was tectonic in origin, was recorded five kilometers southwest of Cataingan at a shallow depth of one kilometer.
Just several hours before the quake occurred, a magnitude 4.1 temblor also shook Cataingan, prompting residents to scamper to open grounds. Ernesto A. Delgado / PIA