Retired cop dies, 36 hurt in Masbate earthquake

August 18, 2020
Collapsed building
Rescuers looking for survivors at the site of a damaged house after a 6.6-magnitude earthquake hit the town of Cataingan in the central Philippine province of Masbate. At least one person was killed and 43 injured when the earthquake shook the central Philippines on August 18, sending residents fleeing their homes and damaging buildings and roads. Handout / Courtesy of Javee Vallecer / AFP

A RETIRED police officer yesterday died while 36 were injured after a magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck Cataingan town in Masbate.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said the tremor, which struck at 8:03 a.m. yesterday, also left heavy damages to homes and other structures.

Masbate provincial police director Col. Joriz Cantoria identified the fatality as retired police Colonel Gilbert Sauro, of Sitio Alimango, Bgy. Concepcion, Cataingan.

Sauro was fatally hit by falling debris when his three-storey house collapsed.

Local radio reporter Christopher Decama said he saw emergency workers pull the victim’s body from the rubble.

The man’s wife escaped unharmed.

“The earthquake was really strong. Our people were broadcasting at the time but just ran put of the building,” Decama told Agence France Presse by telephone.    

According to the Cataingan local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, the powerful quake injured 36 people in Masbate, among them was Ronalyn Condrillon, of Bgy. Poblacion.

Cantoria said the quake left establishments in the town damaged, including  the Public Attorney’s Office,  the Old and New Public Market, the police station, port docking area, and an auditorium that house locally- stranded individuals.

The police official said the jolt also left cracks on the roads.

Phivolcs said the quake,  with a shallow depth of one kilometer and tectonic in origin,  was also felt in parts of Luzon and the Visayas.

Phivolcs initially placed the magnitude at 6.5. 

Intensity 5 was recorded in Mapanas, Northern Samar; Legazpi City, Albay; and Lezo,  Aklan.

Intensity 3 was felt in Iloilo City.

Phivolcs instruments recorded intensity 5 in Masbate City and intensity 4 in Palo, Leyte; Iloilo City;  Roxas City in Capiz; and Naval, Biliran.

Intensity 3 in Bago, Negros Occidental; Malinao, Aklan; and Jamindan, Capiz; Ormoc City while intensity 2 in Gumaca, Quezon;  Sipalay, Negros Occidental; Valderrama, Antique; Sipocot, Camarines Sur; Talibon, Bohol; and San Francisco, Cebu

Despite the strong tremor, Phivolcs said there was no risk of a tsunami  but warned of aftershocks.

National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council spokesman Mark Timbal said a coordination is ongoing to determine the effect of the earthquake in other areas.              

With Zaida delos Reyes