• Batangas on edge after quake


    TAAL, Batangas: The province of Batangas was rocked by aftershocks following the magnitude 5.5 earthquake that struck Tuesday night.

    Renato Solidum, head of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), on Wednesday warned of even more tremors, after the agency recorded 52 aftershocks at 12 noon.

    At 8:58 p.m. on Tuesday, a 5.5-magnitude earthquake struck off Tingloy town in Batangas and was felt in the Calabarzon region, Mindoro, and some areas in Metro Manila. There were no casualties and serious damage, however.

    Phivolcs said Intensity 6 was recorded in Batangas City; Intensity 5 in Malvar and Calatagan, Batangas; Intensity 4 in Makati City; Santa Ana in Manila; Valenzuela City; Obando, Bulacan; Tagaytay, Silang, Noveleta, Imus and Indang in Cavite; Calamba in Laguna; and Cuenca in Batangas.

    JOLTED Residents inspect the façade of the Minor Basilica of St. Martin of Tours in Taal, Batangas after Tuesday night’s 5.5-magnitude earthquake. The right canopy of the basilica was damaged.

    Intensity 3 was felt in Mandaluyong City, Quezon City, General Trias and Dasmariñas in Cavite, Pasay City, Lucena City in Quezon and Santa Rosa, Laguna.

    Intensity 2 was felt in Talisay, Batangas, Abra de Ilog in Occidental Mindoro, Pasig City and Meycauayan, Bulacan.

    There are no tsunami threats, the Phivolcs chief said. “First of all, the magnitude is below threshold and it is too low to cause any tsunami within the affected areas of the earthquake. Movement of fault is horizontal which does not effect the waters so, it’s impossible [to have a tsunami],” said Solidum.

    Phivolcs also debunked claims the 5.5-magnitude earthquake in the province of Batangas could lead to the eruption of Mt. Banahaw.

    “[Phivolcs] has not made any predictions of earthquakes or volcanic eruptions as a consequence of the magnitude 5.5 earthquake in Batangas [on April 4],” the state volcanology agency said in a statement.

    More rumors refuted
    Taal Mayor Pong Mercado confirmed that the right canopy of the Taal Basilica was damaged by the earthquake.

    While the damage was minor, the basilica, said to be Asia’s largest church, requires retrofitting to withstand future quakes, he said.

    Taal residents evacuate to safety. PHOTOS FROM TAAL MAYOR PONG MERCADO

    The Taal Basilica, or the Basilica of St. Martin of Tours, was consecrated by Augustinian missionaries in 1865 and is located at Barangay Poblacion.

    At the Taal town hall, a chandelier of the municipal council’s session hall fell and shattered to pieces.

    Mercado said Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas pledged P1 million as initial assistance for the basilica’s repair and retrofitting. Concerned individuals in Taal have also pledged support.

    Jenny Aguilera, public information officer of the provincial government, said Mandanas had yet to declare a state of calamity.

    She said the governor was awaiting reports from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office before seeking the nod of the provincial board to declare a state of calamity.



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