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3 die in General Santos City earthquake

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines — A couple was crushed to death by heavy chunks of a tall concrete fence that crumbled amid the strong tremor that jolted this city and nearby provinces on Friday afternoon.

Emergency responders discovered the lifeless body of Winnefreda Flores, partially covered by concrete fragments and steel support bars, at a location inside a mall in the area.

Col. Nicomedes Olaivar, General Santos City police director, told reporters on Saturday that spouses Danny and Jane Ginung were already both lifeless when policemen and emergency responders had cleared the rubble that covered their bodies.

“They were at one side of the street when the concrete wall fell on them,” Olaivar said.

No fewer than 30 people in shopping malls and other buildings here got hurt as debris from ceilings and overhead floors fell on them while moving out in haste.

A number of students in different private and government schools here and in nearby towns in Sarangani were also reported to have fainted as the ground shook, many of them brought to hospitals for medication.

The office of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology in Region 12 and regional employees of the Department of Science and Technology in nearby Koronadal City reported late Friday that the earthquake was strongest in Sarangani province, recorded at Magnitude 7.2 in the Richter Scale.

Brig. Gen. Jimili Macaraeg, director of the Police Regional Office-12, said on Saturday that members of the quick reaction units in their headquarters here were immediately mobilized to help in the post-tremor rescue and humanitarian missions of the local government units in this city and in towns in nearby Sarangani province.

Army Major Gen. Alex Rillera, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said he has directed the officers of their anti-terror Task Force GenSan here to help emergency responders attend to the needs of residents displaced by the calamity, something first in the history of this so old city.