Buildings evacuated as quake rattles Philippine capital

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Workers, residents, and students evacuated buildings in the Philippine capital Manila on Tuesday after an earthquake of magnitude 5.9 struck off the main Luzon island, according to the state seismology agency and images carried by media.

There were no immediate reports of casualties and the seismology agency said on X, formerly Twitter, that it did not expect damage, but warned of aftershocks. It recorded the offshore earthquake at magnitude 5.9, with a depth of 79 kilometres (49.09 miles). Its epicentre was around 130 km from the capital region.

“We felt the strong and lengthy tremor,” Michael Orayani, mayor of Lubang town in Occidental Mindoro province, told DWPM radio station. “We rushed outdoors even while the building was shaking.”

Images shared by media on X showed government workers leaving congress, senate, the presidential palace, and the justice ministry buildings. Students also evacuated universities.

The transportation ministry stopped train operations in the capital, although no damage was observed on the runway and taxiway pavements and terminal facilities, the state airport operator said.

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre had earlier recorded the quake at magnitude 6.2 before downgrading to 6.0. Earthquakes are common in the Philippines which lies on the “Ring of Fire”, a belt of volcanoes circling the Pacific Ocean that is prone to seismic activity.

Three people died from a magnitude 7.4 earthquake that struck the southern Philippines on Saturday night. It was followed by more than 2,000 aftershocks that prompted thousands to stay in evacuation centres. A separate magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck Mindanao early Monday morning.

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