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Magnitude 6.8 quake strikes off Sarangani

MANILA, Philippines — A magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck off the coast of Sarangani at around 4:14 p.m. yesterday.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said the epicenter of the quake, which was expected to generate aftershocks and cause damage, was monitored 30 kilometers south of Sarangani.

The temblor was initially registered as a magnitude 7.2. It was tectonic in origin and had a depth of focus of 10 kilometers.

It was reportedly felt at Intensity 6, which is classified as very strong, in Kiamba in Sarangani, Polomolok in South Cotabato and General Santos.

The shaking was felt at Intensity 5 or strong, in Pantukan, Davao de Oro; Tagum, Davao del Norte; Jose Abad Santos, Davao Occidental; Alabel, Maasim and Malungon in Sarangani; Banga, Lake Sebu, Tampakan and Tupi in South Cotabato; and Tacurong in Sultan Kudarat.

Phivolcs said the quake was felt at Intensity 4 or moderately strong in Zamboanga City; Magsaysay, Davao del Sur; Davao City; Banisilan, Kabacan and Kidapawan in Cotabato; and Koronadal, Norala and Sto. Niño in South Cotabato.

The same intensity was felt in Bagumbayan, Kalamansig, Lebak, Lutayan, President Quirino and Senator Ninoy Aquino in Sultan Kudarat; Bislig and Hinatuan in Surigao del Sur; Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao; and Cotabato City.

State seismologists said there was no tsunami threat based on available sea-level data.

”However, earthquakes of this size may generate unusual sea level disturbances that may be observed along coasts near the earthquake epicenter in Davao Occidental,” Phivolcs said.

There was no report of casualties as of last night.

The Office of Civil Defense and National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said reports from affected areas were still being collated.

Radio reports said patients in hospitals in General Santos were evacuated due to the shaking.

Videos posted on social media showed the ceiling of malls in the city swaying while shoppers rushed for cover.

In Davao City, a crane on top of a building under consruction collapsed due to the quake. — Michael Punongbayan, Roel Pareño, John Unson, Diana Lhyd Suelto, Edith Regalado