By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang said President Duterte and his family were safe following another strong earthquake that rocked Mindanao Sunday afternoon.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the statement after a 6.9-magnitude quake shook the southern region anew.
In a text message to reporters, Panelo said that Duterte was in his house in Davao City while his partner Honeylet Avanceña was on the road when the quake happened.
“He (President Duterte) is okay. He and his daughter Kitty were in their house when the quake struck,” he said.
“First Lady Honeylet was on her way home [when the] ground trembled. She said her car was swaying. She is unhurt,” he added.
Presidential Security Group (PSG) commander Col. Jose Eriel Niembra also said that the President was fine and his house was not damaged by the quake.
“Okay lang wala namang damage house pero pa-check pa rin structural integrity (The house was not damaged but we have to have its structural integrity check),” he saod.
“PRRD okay lang natulog uli after the quake (The President is okay. He went back to sleep after the quake),” he added.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) recorded the earthquake around 2:11 p.m. and traced its epicenter 9 kilometers northwest of Matanao, Davao del Sur.
The earthquake, which was tectonic in origin, was felt as a “destructive” tremor at Intensity VII in Matanao and Magsaysay in Davao del Sur.
President Duterte earlier said that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) engineers were going to check the structural integrity of his house because of the cracks that started to appear inside his house since the first quake that rocked Mindanao in October.
“There are cracks even during — as early as about three earthquakes ago. Every time it happens, may bagong crack. Pero crack lang naman. It’s — makita mo na ang ano linya (a new crack appears. But it’s just a crack. You can see the line),” he told reporters in Davao City Thursday evening.
Duterte said that the Presidential Security Group (PSG) insisted that engineers check the structural integrity of Duterte’s house to determine if it was safe for him and his family to stay there.
“Sabi ng (The) PSG, they are insisting that it will be inspected. Maybe tomorrow (sic). Taga-DPWH pati… ‘Yung structural engineers diyan sa city government (Structural engineers from the DPWH and the city government),” he said.
Read more: One dead as 6.9 quake jolts Davao del Sur