Safety first: Classes remain suspended in Masbate as inspection of school continues
By Ernesto Delgado
MASBATE CITY, Masbate --- The suspension of classes throughout this province was extended for another day to give way to an inspection of school buildings and facilities in the wake of Thursday’s earthquake.
Acting on the recommendation of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, Governor Antonio Kho, in a memorandum released on Thursday afternoon, said classes at all levels in public and private schools will not resume on Friday, February 17.
The same cancellation of classes was in force in Masbate on Thursday, February 16, by virtue of a Department of Education’s policy which prescribes automatic suspension of in-person, online classes and work from kindergarten to Grade 12 and Alternative Learning System in schools situated in localities where the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) detected an earthquake with at least Intensity 5.
So far, no major damage resulting from the magnitude 6.0 earthquake and the succeeding aftershocks that rocked Masbate Thursday was immediately reported in the province, but Kho still ordered an assessment of the buildings to ascertain that students would be safe in their classrooms.
Adonis Dilao, acting chief of Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said government engineers would go around hundreds of schools to check the structures.
The main shock was felt across Masbate and much of the neighboring provinces and regions at around 2:10 a.m., with the epicenter detected by Phivolcs at 10 kilometers southwest of Batuan town.
The 3-storey Masbate Provincial Hospital swayed and close to 200 patients and watchers were moved from the building to several tents set up outside.
As of 5 a.m. today, Friday, at least 20 aftershocks were felt in Masbate, the strongest of which had magnitude 4.8 that jolted Masbate City at 5:38 a.m..
But Leni Torrevillas, chief seismologist of Phivolcs station in Masbate, said 277 more earthquakes have been actually recorded by Phivolcs.
The 6.0-magnitude quake, which occurred in the early darkness of a rainy morning in Masbate, was preceded the day before by another strong quake, magnitude 5.0, which was centered just 11 kilometers northwest of Dimasalang, Masbate. (PIA5/Masbate)