By Analou De Vera
The Department of Tourism (DOT) has encouraged tourists to “review” any of their travel plans to the areas affected by the 6.1 magnitude earthquake that jolted parts of Luzon Monday afternoon.
“We ask those planning to visit the affected areas to review their travel plans and allow our authorities to complete their urgent tasks for now,” said Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr. in a text message sent to the Manila Bulletin.
Bengzon said that the tourism department is coordinating with other government agencies that are involved in the response operations.
“At the moment, our main priority is to coordinate with other government agencies that are still involved in the search and rescue [operations],” said Bengzon.
Bengzon also expressed their “deepest sympathies to the families of the victims of the recent earthquake.”
According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), the earthquake hit parts of Luzon at around 5:11 p.m. on Monday with its epicenter in Castillejos, Zambales.
The Philvolcs said that Intensity 5 was felt in San Felipe, Zambales; Malolos City and Obando, Bulacan; Quezon City; Lipa, Batangas; Manila; Abucay, Bataan; Valenzuela City; and Magalang, Pampanga. Intensity 5 was described as “strong” and “generally felt by most people indoors or outdoors.”
A state of calamity has already been declared in Pampanga as several structures were damaged by the quake. The death toll has now climbed to 11.