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Comelec prepares contingency plan in case of earthquake during elections

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

FILE: PNP National Headquarters participated in the 1st Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) on April 21, 2016. Response and Rescue operations were also done during the activity. (Photo: PNP FB Page)

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has laid out a contingency plan in case of an earthquake or any emergency during the election day on May 13.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) is tasked to make sure that no voters will be left inside the polling precinct in case of an earthquake; while the Board of Election Inspectors are tasked to secure the Vote Counting Machines (VCM) and ballots inside it.

“Ultimately the most important consideration here is the safety of the voting public. And we want to make sure that if there are voting precincts operating in those areas, that they should be safe and that they have not been damaged either by the primary quake or the aftershocks,” Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said.

He added, “If the VCMs cannot be taken out or the VCMs cannot be protected, then the school is locked down.”

The police is also under the instruction to secure the polling place.

READ: Earthquake and other calamities might cause failure of elections—Comelec

For emergency cases like earthquakes and other calamities, Comelec will have to declare a failure of elections. However, this will depend on the severity of its effect in the country.

Meanwhile, Comelec has warned the public not to easily believe posts online such as the viral video that showed pre-shaded ballots.

Jimenez clarified that these ballots are fake, and he refuted the claim of the video uploader that the VCM will read votes detected by UV light.

“Iyong idea na mababasa ng makina iyong UV mark doon sa bilog sa tabi ng pangalan is wrong. Iyong ating scanner ay nagbabasa ng visible marks. Kailangan niyang makita iyong marka. Ang UV mark ay invisible. The fact that some names were supposedly had pre- shaded, pre- shading. Obviously political agenda ang nasa ilalim nito, (The idea that the machine will read UV marks in the circle is wrong. Our scanner reads visible marks. It needs to see the mark. UV marks are invisible. Obviously there is a political agenda under it),” he said.(with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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5.5 magnitude quake jolts Surigao del Sur

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Saturday, July 13th, 2019

A magnitude 5.5 earthquake jolted Surigao del Sur and its neighboring provinces early morning Saturday, July 13.

According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), the earthquake, recorded at 4:42 a.m., was tectonic in origin and had a depth of 5 kilometers.

The epicenter was located at 8 kilometers Northwest of Cortes town.

Intensity IV was recorded in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental;
Intensity II in Cebu City and Borongan City; and Intensity I – Bislig City and Cagayan de Oro City.

Authorities are still searching thru the affected areas to estimate the total damage and casualties brought by the quake.

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Californians remain alert for earthquakes after two major ones in two days

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

Courtesy: Reuters

Californians near the epicenter of Friday night’s 7.1-magnitude earthquake are staying cautious about more quakes as aftershocks continued in the following two days.

Friday’s earthquake was the largest to occur in California in nearly 20 years. This comes as the golden state had seen a 6.4-magnitude one on Thursday.

At the epicenter of the 7.1-magnitude earthquake — Searles Valley, cracks can be seen on surface of freeways. Underground water pipes were also damaged. In Trona, a nearby town with a population of 2,000 to 3,000, houses and buildings were damaged on different level.

The earthquake caused power outages and water cuts, which were still not fully recovered in some places after two days.

An earthquake shelter was established in the city of Ridgecrest 40 kilometers from Trona following the first earthquake.

Although Californians are no strangers to earthquakes, many are still anxious over the two strong shakes and choose to sleep in the shelter or inside their own vehicles at night.

“So this shelter has been set up by the America Red Cross of our partners that are helping us out here. It’s a evacuation shelter for individuals who have been displaced related to the earthquake that happened here in this area. We are providing food, shelter and information assistance and whatever we can provide for the community to help them to get through the current situation,” said Roy Vargas, leader of the shelter.

Vargas said although people are stressed, they are happy because the situation is getting better.

“Well, I think the general mood, of course, everyone is stressed, because of the situation that have happened. But overall, I think people are about is joy; they are happy because they are working towards getting better,” said Vargas.

Local police department warned residents to stay vigilant and advised every household to store three days of rations and batteries for flashlights in case of more severe quakes and relief supplies may take time to arrive. (REUTERS)

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Magnitude 7.5 quake shakes Australian City

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, June 24th, 2019

Evacuated people standing outside | Courtesy : Reuters

A deep earthquake of magnitude 7.5 struck off the coasts of East Timor and Indonesia on Monday (June 24) with the shaking felt in Australia’s northern city of Darwin, about 700 km (435 miles) from the epicenter, but no damage was reported.

Witnesses in Darwin told of shaking and trembling, as they were evacuated out of buildings in the city center.

The quake, initially recorded at a magnitude of 7.2, hit out at sea at a depth of 220 km (136 miles), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said.

There is no tsunami threat because of the quake’s depth, the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in a statement. (REUTERS)

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