Magnitude 6.3 quake rocks parts of Mindanao

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 16)— A magnitude 6.3 earthquake rocked North Cotabato and parts of Mindanao on Wednesday evening, prompting evacuation and suspension of classes.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or major damage in the tectonic quake that had a shallow depth of eight kilometers. It was centered 22 kilometers southeast of Tulunan town in North Cotabato and struck at 7:37 p.m., the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said in its updated report.

The earthquake was felt at Intensity 7 in Kidapawan City, as well as in Tulunan and M’Lang towns in North Cotabato. Philvolcs classifies the scale as "destructive" as it could overturn heavy objects or cause considerable damage to old or poorly-built structures.

In Kidapawan, nervous mall-goers and hospital patients were seen fleeing the establishments.

Intensity 6, which pertains to “very strong” shaking, was meanwhile recorded in Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat, Digos City in Davao del Sur, and Sto. Nino in South Cotabato.

Intensity 5 was reported in Alabel and Malungon in Sarangani, Lake Sebu, Polomolok, Tampakan and Tupi in South Cotabato, Koronadal City, Roxas and Pikit in North Cotabato, General Santos City, Davao City, and Kalamansig, Lebak and Palimbang in Sultan Kudarat.

Intensity 4 meanwhile struck Kiamba in Sarangani, Esperanza and Rosario in Agusan del Sur, Kalilangan, Quezon, Kadingilan and Damulog in Bukidnon, Mawab in Compostela Valley, Cotabato City, and Matanog, Barira and Sultan Kudarat in Maguindanao.

Intensity 3 was recorded in Santa Josefa in Agusan del Sur, Iligan City, and Dipolog City, while Intensity 2 struck Butuan City and Zamboanga City.

Intensity 1 was felt in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur.

‘Aftershocks, damage expected’

A number of aftershocks have been reported, including one with a magnitude 5.5 that rattled Sultan Kudarat at 8:09 p.m.

Reported damage from the quake includes a bridge in Valencia, Bukidnon, which remains passable only to light vehicles. Cor Jesu College in Digos, Davao del Sur also suffered cracked walls, with debris strewn on the floor. Fire also reportedly broke out at the Gaisano Mall in General Santos City.

Classes in all levels in Kidapawan City are meanwhile suspended on Thursday following the tremor, which is seen as the strongest earthquake to hit the area in recent years.

Pag wala kaming announcement na lifted ‘yan, wala munang pasok. It may last until Friday. Kasi kung merong mga major damage ‘yung mga eskwelahan natin, hindi muna natin papasukin muna,” Kidapawan City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (CDRRMC) head Psalmer Bernalte told CNN Philippines.

[Translation: If we don’t announce that it’s lifted, then classes will remain suspended. Because if there are major damage in our schools, we won’t let our students go to school.]

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio also announced the suspension of classes in all levels on Thursday, urging school officials to conduct safety inspections immediately.

Phivolcs said there are no tsunami threats or warnings after the earthquake.

This is a developing story.