NegOr warned of possible stronger quake after series of tremors

MANILA — Negros Oriental may experience an earthquake stronger than those that have been striking the province lately, particularly on the province’s southern portion, state geologists have warned.

“A potentially active fault there might generate such earthquake,” science research assistant Tom Simborio of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Friday.

Simborio said Phivolcs is monitoring the area, as the series of minor earthquakes there in the past week indicates possible activity or movement of the still-unnamed fault.

He, however, urged the public to keep calm and prepare for any eventuality.

“Communities concerned must prepare accordingly and avoid panicking,” he said. “Knowing how to duck, cover, and hold, as well as assembling emergency kits, are among earthquake preparations people must do.”

Phivolcs data show a magnitude 3.1 earthquake at struck at 5:46 p.m. on Thursday, 10 kilometers southwest of Valencia, the municipality that’s also called Luzurriaga and located in Negros Oriental’s south-lying third district.

The earthquake was felt at intensity 3 in Bacong and Valencia towns and at intensity 2 in Dumaguete City and Dauin town.

Another unfelt magnitude 2.3 earthquake occurred later at 8:47 p.m. Thursday, striking 17 km southwest of Valencia.

On Friday, February 2, three more unfelt magnitude 2.3 earthquakes southwest of Valencia followed at 1:10 a.m., 2:27 a.m., and 4:27 a.m., Phivolcs continued.

Another magnitude 1.8 earthquake took place at 2.36 a.m. Friday four km southwest of Zamboaguita town, also in Negros Oriental’s third district, the province’s southern portion.

Then again, a magnitude 2.7 earthquake occurred at 5:19 a.m. Friday 15 km southwest of Valencia.

Phivolcs is not expecting aftershocks and damages from the earthquakes.

But Simborio said Phivolcs is monitoring the flow of seismic activities in southern Negros Oriental, particularly since successive earthquakes also hit the Zamboanguita-Dauin area the previous week.

“Such earthquakes might be related to the successive ones that mainly struck Valencia this week,” he said.

Four earthquakes of magnitudes 1.8, 3.3, 2.7, and 3.1 successively occurred northwest and southwest of Zamboanguita between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. on January 27, noted Phivolcs.

At 6:21 a.m. on that day, Saturday, a magnitude-4.7 quake also struck 10 km northwest of Zamboanguita’s neighboring town Dauin.

The quake, Phivolcs said, was reported at intensity 4 in Sibulan and Dumaguete and “instrumental” intensity 4 in Sibulan.