Earthquake stronger than ‘The Big One’ possible in N. Cotabato – PHIVOLCS

Marje Pelayo   •   October 31, 2019   •   2648

Earthquake-damaged building in North Cotobato after a magnitude 6.5 temblor struck the province on Thursday, October 31, 2019. (PHOTOVILLE INTERNATIONAL)

MANILA, Philippines – Three consecutive earthquakes with a strength higher than magnitude 6 struck North Cotabato this month.

But the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) believes that a temblor more powerful than the magnitude 7.2 is possible to occur in the area in the future.

Although historically, the strongest shaking recorded in the region was magnitude 7.5 and it was onshore.

In the recent past, Metro Manila has been active in conducting a series of earthquake drills in preparation for the anticipated movement of the 100 kilometers West Valley Fault that traverses several towns in Bulacan, Metro Manila up to Laguna that can generate a magnitude 7.2 earthquake or the so-called The Big One.

“Tandaan, hindi lang sa greater Metro Manila maaaring magkaroon ng The Big One (Note that it is not only in greater Metro Manila that the Big One could occur),” PHIVOLCS Officer-In-Charge Renato Solidum said.

“Posible ring mangyari ito sa ibang bahagi ng Pilipinas dahil sa mga active faults at trenches na makapagdudulot ng malakas na lindol (It could also happen in other cities in the Philippines due to active faults and trenches that could generate strong earthquake),” he added.

On October 29, a magnitude 6.6 quake was experienced in Tulunan town in North Cotabato which was followed by a series of strong aftershocks.

A day after on October 31, the area was again rocked by an equally strong magnitude 6.5 temblor which further caused damage to the structures in the area.

“Tinatawag po namin siyang series of events kasi tuloy-tuloy ang paggalaw niya doon dahil sa marami siyang sources na pwedeng panggalingan, (We call it series of events because the activities are continuous from multiple sources,)” explained Mylene Enriquez, a Science Research Specialist from PHIVOLCS.

According to PHIVOLCS, Central Mindanao, which includes Cotabato, is one of the seismically active regions in the country.

Specifically, the region has five active faults that may cause strong ground shaking.

These are the M’lang Fault, Makilala-Malungon Fault, North Columbio Fault, South Columbio Fault, and the western extension of the Mindanao Fault or the Cotabato-Sindangan Fault.

These faults, PHIVOLCS said, could possibly generate strong earthquakes — stronger than what West Valley Fault could produce.

“Kasi interrelated ang mga faults doon (These faults are interrelated),” Enriquez said.

“Ibig sabihin magkakalapit sila so kung may gumalaw na isa, posibleng maapektuhan yung isa pang katabi niyang system or fault (This means that since they are adjacent to one another, one move affects the others in the system or fault),” she explained.

Also, the Cotabato Trench can also be a major source of earthquakes that can impact the region apart from other nearby local faults that can generate small to strong magnitude temblors.

In 1924, at least four earthquakes with strength ranging from magnitude 5 to 7.5 were recorded in Cotabato.

PHIVOLCS, however, clarified that the earthquake in Cotabato is different from what is expected to occur in Metro Manila in terms of impact and effects as Metro Manila has more structures and is more densely populated than other cities in the country. – MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Murder raps filed vs. 8 suspects in N. Cotabato bus bombing – PNP

Robie de Guzman   •   March 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Criminal charges have been filed against eight suspects in the bombing of a passenger bus in North Cotabato on January 27, 2021, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said.

In a statement issued Sunday, PNP chief General DeboIld Sinas said murder and frustrated murder charges have been lodged against the suspects who were identified as members of the Al Khobar Group.

The charges were filed before the North Cotabato Provincial Prosecutor Office by the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), he added.

Named as respondents in the case are Salahudin Hassa, Lutre Aman, Tasly Saligan, Norodrin Haman, Datu Ali Camsa, Sandali Sindatok, Jordan Kamad, and Tahir Abubakar, all residents of Datu Paglas, Maguindanao and members of Dawlah Islamiya- Hassan Group.

The Al Khobar Group, is an organized crime group formed out of a dismantled group of operating under the Special Operations Group of MILF in the early 2000s and were responsible for extortion and bombing activities in Central Mindanao, the PNP said.

“We have on-going police operations to scour the areas in Mindanao in pursuit of this terrorist group” Sinas said.

The explosion incident in Cotabato occurred when a unit of Yellow Bus Lines was about to drop a passenger at the National Highway, near an abandoned ticket booth along Barangay Sibsib.

The incident killed one person and injured two others.

In the post-blast investigation by the Team EOD of Cotabato on January 28, 2021, it was concluded that the explosion was caused by an improvised explosive device, which was designed as a radio-controlled improvised explosive device intended to function thru wireless command detonation.

Task Force Davao boosts security after North Cotabato bombing incident

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 29, 2021

The Task Force Davao said it will heighten security in Davao City following the bombing incident in Tulunan, North Cotabato on Wednesday (January 27).

TF Davao Commander Consolito Yecla reported that additional personnel have been deployed to various checkpoints and buses that enter the city are thoroughly inspected.

“We immediately alerted our checkpoints and we conducted a thorough inspection, especially the bus passengers entering Davao City. We inspected the buses utilizing canine dogs and deployed additional personnel in the checkpoints, especially in the Sirawan checkpoint,” he said.

They also advised the management of the Davao City Overland Transport Terminal (DCOTT) to implement the policy of not picking up of passengers outside the terminal.

Meanwhile, Davao City Police Office Chief Colonel Kirby John Kraft said beginning next week, all police stations in the city will have 24-hour checkpoints.

Travelers are also encouraged to cooperate during inspections and residents are reminded of the “no-unattended-baggage” policy, especially at terminals.

One elderly and seven others were hit by shrapnel from an explosion near a Yellow Bus unit on Wednesday. AAC 

Intense earthquakes in Taal indicate possible ‘explosive eruption’ — PHIVOLCS

Marje Pelayo   •   January 14, 2020

Cracks due to frequent earthquakes can be seen on the roads, houses and some establishments in Batangas.

BATANGAS, Philippines – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) reported intense seismic activity in Taal volcano in the past 24 hours.

As of Tuesday (January 14), the agency recorded a total of 212 volcanic earthquakes in the region of Taal, of which, 81 were felt with intensities ranging from Intensity I to V in the areas of Tagaytay City, Cavite.

“Such intense seismic activity probably signifies continuous magmatic intrusion beneath the Taal edifice, which may lead to further eruptive activity,” PHIVOLCS said in its report.

Based on PHIVOLCS’ 24-hour monitoring, Taal Volcano’s main crater has been continuously erupting due to magmatic and hydrovolcanic activity which generated 500-meter tall lava fountains and about two kilometers tall dark gray steam.

Since the last update, the agency said, heavy ash fall has reportedly fallen on the municipalities of Lemery, Talisay, Taal, and Cuenca, Batangas.

Sulfur dioxide emissions blanketed the air which were measured at an average of 5,299 tons per day on Monday (January 13).

PHIVOLCS maintains Alert Level 4 over Taal Volcano which means a possibility of a hazardous explosive eruption is high within hours to days.

Thus, the agency strongly reiterates total evacuation of the entire Taal Volcano Island as well as nearby areas at high risk to pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami within a 14-kilometer radius from Taal’s main crater.

Communities north of Taal Volcano are advised to guard against the effects of heavy and prolonged ash fall.

PHIVOLCS remains in close monitoring of the activities of Taal Volcano and assures the public of up to date information.

In a press briefing on Tuesday, PHIVOLCS OIC Renato Solidum advised the public to be aware of the developments in Taal’s activities as major explosive eruption remains a possibility.

“We need the cooperation of everyone. The scenario of hazardous eruption is a real scenario that has been exhibited by Taal volcano. If we look at those scenarios, the impact is quite significant. Therefore, people need to be reminded that going inside the recommended evacuation zone is a risky business and in reality we need to focus on moving people away from identified areas,” he said.

“The mere fact that we are recording a lot of earthquakes and the fissures are now observed, meaning the entire area of Taal is being pushed by the magma intrusion, that would now be a possible source, if this would reached the surface, for a possible eruption and hopefully it’s not explosive but based on past events, it becomes explosive,” he concluded.

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