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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, February 6, 2018
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No warning of big
quake in Oriental'

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) main office yesterday said that, contrary to a news report last week, the agency did not issue a warning for Negros Oriental that it willmay experience a potential bigger earthquake following the ongoing series of tremors.

Ishmael Narag, who heads the Seismological Observation and Earthquake Prediction Division (SOEPD) of Phivolcs, gave the assurance in a phone interview yesterday, as residents of Valencia, Negros Oriental, and other nearby areas expressed concern while others are already in panic due to the report.

The report quoting a Phivolcs official was posted by the Philippines News Agency last week.

There is no cause for alarm amid the ongoing series of earthquakes in Valencia and nearby areas, Narag assured.

Public sentiments were spreading on social media even as local government officials also denied having received such warning from Phivolcs.

Naragsaid Phivolcs is closely monitoring and analyzing data on the probable cause of the “surge” of earthquakes of various magnitudes over the past weeks, mostly recorded in Valencia town but some with a reference point in nearby Dauin town.

The strongest one was recorded at Magnitude 4.7 in Dauin last January 27 and was felt in Dumaguete City and Sibulan at Intensity IV. Other tremors varied in magnitudes, mostly less than Magnitude 3, Phivolcs records show.

As of yesterday morning, the local Phivolcs seismic monitoring station in Sibulan, Negros Oriental, headed by JoseMolas had reported more than 100 tremors since January 1 this year.

The most number of earthquake events within one day was pegged at 28, recorded between 8 a.m. Feb. 1 and 8 a.m. Feb. 2, Molas said.

More tremors were recorded over the weekend, with at least eight events as of yesterday morning.

While Molas had initially described this as an “earthquake swamp”, his superior, Narag explained that the agency couldnot be conclusive yet on this one because the “surge” of tremors in the past several days do not quite fit the definition of an earthquake swamp.

Besides, Phivolcs is also analyzing data to determine whether the January 27 strong tremor was the main shock, and the succeeding tremors were aftershocks, while the quakes that took place on the same day, but at an earlier time, were foreshocks, Narag said.

Narag said they believe that the earthquakes, which they describe as tectonic in origin, are taking place in the Sibulan fault line, which leads to the southwest of the province.

Meanwhile, Naragsaid they do not believe that the earthquakes are volcanic in nature, although it is another department in the agency that can validate this.

As to Phivolcs sending teams and instruments to Valencia to do a study on the earthquakes, Narag said it is not possible at this time because these are currently deployed in the Bicol region due to the eruption of Mayon Volcano.

On the report that came out last week regarding a “big one” in Negros Oriental, Narag said he will find out from the Phivolcs who gave the information to the government media reporter which led to the publication of the news report that Negros Oriental was warned of a potential big earthquake.

Narag assured the people here that the constant seismic activities in Valencia and neighboring towns are being closely monitored, and that there is no imminent danger at present.

He, however, recommended that local government units be on the alert for potential landslides and the loosening of rocks and boulders due to the continuous shaking in the past several days and weeks. *PNA



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