CAMP VICENTE LIM–The Office of Civil Defense-Calabarzon (OCD-Calabarzon) raised its red alert status following the occurrence of more aftershocks from the 5.4-magnitude earthquake that struck Batangas on Tuesday evening.
The town of Tingloy, where the epicenter of the tremor was traced, experienced 32 aftershocks as of 5 a.m. Wednesday, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).
The move aims to ensure proper monitoring, coordination and response to the earthquake-affected areas.
At least five other aftershocks were also felt in other towns of Batangas: two in San Luis, two in Mabini and one in San Nicolas.
According to the OCD-Calabarzon Regional Director and Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) Chair Olivia M. Luces, 37 aftershocks were felt mostly in the Batangas earthquake epicenter in Tingloy.
Director Luces said Tingloy Church also sustained minor damages as updates trickled early Wednesday morning from the local disaster risk reduction and management offices (LDRRMOs) and parishioners.
Tingloy’s island town residents have returned to their homes early Wednesday morning after they were evacuated to higher grounds in the wake of any tsunami alert as a pre-emptive measurre.
As of press time, scores of Batangas City residents have remained on alert and are seen outside of tall buildings and at open areas due to continuous aftershocks.
The city DRRMC and the Batangas PDRRMO have already deployed resources to ensure the safety of the residents at the evacuation areas.
Emergency response teams have been on stand by and city officials continue to monitor and assess buildings and establishments that may have sustained damages.
Luces said that they have been closely monitoring the PHIVOLCS earthquake bulletins and intensifying coordination and situation updates including Rapid Damage Assessments with LDRRMOs.
She also appealed to social media users, netizens and the public to engage in factual information from authorities and avert spreading of false information that may cause panics to the public.
As of Wednesday morning, the municipal government of San Luis, Batangas through its disaster and risk reduction management council has distributed biscuits and hot drinks to the evacuated families from the five coastal barangays.
Although, some families have spent the night at the evacuation center due to some aftershocks, others have started to return home following local government caution to stay alert and prepare for any eventuality.
OCD-RDRRMC here also reported that the Bauan MDRRMO assisted patients of Bejasa Hospital who were temporarily evacuated to return inside the hospital.
In Calaca, Batangas, the MDRRMO also deployed its personnel at the coastal areas to continue to inform and announce to residents and allay their fears that there are no tsunami alerts.
They also advised coastal villagers to heed from local authorities and avoid false information and possible stampede arising from the “fake” reports.
Around 1,000 coastal residents of Mabini, Batangas were evacuated to safe areas by the MDRRMC out of fear from tsunami incidence but returned home by Wednesday dawn.
Taal and Lemery towns also conducted their pre-emptive evacuation to some 2,000 coastal villagers as the earthquake struck Tuesday night but the residents were back in their residences by dawn after verifying there was no tsunami alert.