MANILA, Philippines – An “earthquake swarm” continued to hit Batangas yesterday as the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) advised people to stay calm but remain vigilant for the “Big One.”

Phivolcs director Renato Solidum said an earthquake swarm has been going on since Tuesday last week, and seismologists have recorded over 1,000 aftershocks, including Saturday’s four “moderately sized” tremors.

He said there was nothing to be alarmed about, as this was expected of a gradually moving fault line. Solidum said an earthquake swarm typically lasts for days or weeks.

At 11:14 a.m. yesterday, a magnitude-3.9 aftershock struck five kilometers southwest of Mabini, Batangas.

It was reportedly felt at Intensity 4 in Tingloy, Batangas; Intensity 3 in Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro; and Intensity 2 in San Teodoro, Oriental Mindoro.

Phivolcs also appealed to the public to refrain from spreading text messages and using social media to warn about an Intensity 8 earthquake that will supposedly hit Luzon following last Saturday’s tremors in Batangas and nearby areas.

“In case of another felt earthquake, do the duck/drop, cover and hold and move to a safe area after the shaking,” the agency said in a statement.

Phivolcs stressed there is no reliable technology in the world that can confidently predict the date, time and location of large earthquakes.

“We appeal to the public not to send or forward any information that may further cause confusion and fear among people,” it said.

Traumatized residents of Mabini, Batangas spent the night on the streets fearing their houses would collapse following two major aftershocks on Saturday.

Two of the four quakes on Saturday registered magnitudes of 6 and 5.6, which struck two minutes apart. The two quakes were felt at Intensity 7 in Mabini.

Tremors were also felt in other parts of Luzon, including Metro Manila.

Reports reaching the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) as of yesterday said the earthquakes also damaged electrical lines.

“Based on the Rapid Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis (RDANA) conducted by the Regional DRRM Council Calabarzon, some roads in Batangas City, Agoncillo and Bauan, Batangas are not passable due to minor landslides,” the NDRRMC reported.

“There were schools, markets and houses reported to have partial damage. Intermittent power supply is being experienced in Tingloy, Mabini, San Luis and Batangas City,” the report added.

The NDRRMC said one resident from Mabini, Batangas was injured after being hit by glass shards.

Reports said evacuation of families and individuals was reported in Mabini, Bauan, Taal, Tingloy, San Pascual, Lipa City, Agoncillo and San Luis, all in Batangas.

The NDRRMC said its members from various government agencies have convened to discuss the effects and initial assessment of the magnitude-6.0 earthquake.

The NDRRMC gave assurance it is constantly monitoring the effects and response operations on the earthquake-stricken communities.

Local disaster officials advised mountaineers and scuba divers of the adverse effects of the earthquake that struck the province.

Provincial disaster management council chief Lito Castro said the local government of Cuenca had released an advisory to all mountaineers to refrain from climbing Mt. Maculot this Lenten season.

Castro noted Mabini Mayor Bitrics Luistro had advised scuba divers planning to spend the Holy Week in the dive capital of the province.

A veteran dive master has advised against diving in the waters off Mabini, saying the seafloor is still murky following last Saturday’s tremor.

The Batangas disaster officials said several roads in Agoncillo, Bauan and Batangas City were temporarily closed because of landslides but they were cleared yesterday.

On the other hand, Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said the department is prepared to provide more support to affected areas in the province.

“The DSWD remains on standby for any contingencies and emergencies connected to the earthquake and its impact. We ask Filipinos to prepare their families and communities for possible aftershocks and to remain vigilant,” Taguiwalo said.

Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu, whose congressional district was severely hit by the weekend tremors, said many of his constituents are in dire need of food and other relief. READ MORE

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