December 22, 2019
/ Manilla, Philippines
/ Edward Rodriguez, Communication Department, Southern Asia-Pacific Division
A devastating 6.9 magnitude earthquake jolted Davao del Sur, South Philippines, at around 2:11 in the afternoon, Sunday, December 15. This latest earthquake is the strongest reported in the series of tremors experienced in the South Philippines over the past two months.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reported that the epicenter of the earthquake was located almost 4 miles (6 kilometers) away from Padada, Davao del Sur, at a depth of 18 miles (30 kilometers).
More than 170 aftershocks were recorded since Sunday adding up to the devastation and casualties in several buildings and facilities throughout the affected region.
According to local reports, five people have died due to the earthquakes, but more fatalities are expected as search and rescue operations continue. Local government units and volunteers armed with sound and metal detectors started searching through the rubble and debris of different buildings in Padada town.
In just two months, Southern Philippines experienced three succeeding strong earthquakes mainly in the province of Cotabato: the first was on October 16 with magnitude 6.3 quake; second on October 29 with a magnitude 6.6; and third on October 31 with a 6.5 magnitude.
Adventists in the province are not excused from the calamity as several institutions were greatly impacted. The Adventist Church headquarters in the Davao region immediately dispatched field workers to check how this incident has affected the members and church buildings.
In an online message, Rhoen Catolico, Media Ministries Coordinator for the Adventist church in Davao said they were all thankful that they were all safe but were praying continuously for citizens of their province.
"We are all safe. We are thankful that despite the numerous tremors we experienced, God kept us safe," Catolico said. "Some Adventist churches and institutions were greatly affected by the recent earthquake and are being assessed as to how it can be renovated," Catolico added.