A strong earth earthquake of 6.9 magnitude struck southwest of the Philippine city of Tacloban on Thursday, the US Geological Survey said.
There were no immediate reports of damage or injury from the quake, which hit at a depth of 41 km (26 miles) about 580 km (360 miles) southwest of the capital, Manila.
The strong, shallow temblor sent residents running from their home, according to local media.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said it expected “some damage” and aftershocks.
However, there were no immediate reports of serious damage or casualties.
According to the the US Geological Survey said it was centered near Masarayao in Leyte province at a depth of 6.5 kilometres.
Shallow earthquakes generally cause more damage. Local residents reported strong shaking and said people fled from their houses, and some were knocked over.
PHILIPPINE INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION –
President Duterte leads on Monday, 12 June, the 119th Independence Day celebration at Rizal Park in Manila – his first as Commander-in-Chief and while government troops continue to fight for the country’s sovereignty, this time, in the face of terrorist threats in the South. Duterte will urge Filipinos to become more responsible individuals to “preserve our sovereignty” and be able to repay those who fought and risked their lives for independence almost a century and a score ago.
His message will delve on remembering the unpaved and bloody road heroes of our past had to travel in order to attain freedom.
Duterte pays homage to thousands of Filipinos who have laid their lives on the line so that every one of their descendants may live with the dignity and rights befitting a free nation. The President shall be joined by Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo as he leads the Independence Day and Flag Day rites at Luneta at 8 a.m.
This year’s Independence Day celebration carries the theme “Kalayaan 2017: Pagbabagong Sama-Samang Balikatin,” according to National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) chair Rene Escalante.
In Cavite, Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson will lead the celebration at the Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, where the Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo declared Philippine Independence in 1898. In Bulacan, Senator Loren Legarda is set to join Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Bulakeños in marking the event at the historic Barasoain Church, where the First Philippine Republic was born. Other selected senators and Cabinet members have been assigned to lead simultaneous commemorative rites in other key cities in the country.
However, Duterte has scrapped the original schedule of hosting the traditional Vin d’Honneur to be attended by diplomats, senior government officials, and other invited guests. Earlier, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that the President has cancelled the Vin d’Honneur to attend to the situation in Mindanao.
PNP ON HIGHEST ALERT IN MM
Meanwhile, police forces in Metro Manila are on their highest security alert status as part of the safety measures for the 119th Independence Day celebration as well as the concert of international pop star Britney Spears on Thursday.
Chief Inspector Kim Molitas, spokesperson of the National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO), said they have already mapped out security protocols for the events this week.
Intense security preparations have been made to block out any possibility of a spillover of attacks in Metro Manila from the ongoing battle with the Maute Group in Marawi.
Apart from preventing any spoiling of the holiday, police are also working double-time to prevent a “copycat” attack of the bombing of the concert venue of American singer Ariana Grande in Britain.
BREAKING NEWS!!! President Rodrigo Roa Duterte Declares Martial Law in Mindanao
President Duterte declared Martial Law in Mindanao while in Russia on a official visit to the Kremlin and appears to be mulling the declaration of martial law in the Visayas and the rest of the country should violence and rebellion continue and if they spread outside Mindanao.
President Duterte had to shorten his visit of Russian and upon arrival in Manila he announced the possible expansion of martial law as he vowed to be “harsh” in dealing with Islamic State-linked Maute Group.
Duterte warned earlier that his brand of martial law will be the same as what the country experienced when it was declared in 1972 by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos.
“It would not be any different from what President Marcos did,” he stressed in Russia, while preparing to return home.
In his arrival press conference, Duterte said he has already issued a shoot-to-kill order against terrorists as well as authorized warrantless arrests to clamp down on lawless violence in areas covered by martial law.
Curfew has been declared in selected areas in Mindanao may also be extended in Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato, Zamboanga, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi and Jolo to protect the civilians.
WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS
The President likewise authorized the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao during the martial law period.
Arrest and search without warrants as well as more government checkpoints have also been established. “If I think the ISIS has already taken foothold also in Luzon and terrorism is not really far behind, I might declare martial law throughout the country to protect the people,” the President said in his remarks.
“Government may consider the covered areas of martial law in the event that members of the Maute Group and other ISIS-affiliated terrorists seek sanctuary or expand their terroristic activities in the Visayas and Mindanao,” said Duterte,
Duterte said he has ordered the military to put naval blockades in areas connecting Visayas and Mindanao to prevent the escape of the terror suspects. He initially said he may expand martial law declaration to include Visayas since it is “walking distance” to the many islands in Mindanao.
“Because of the many islands, they can always escape there and begin another terroristic activity. I have ordered the military, especially the Navy to embargo the islands, specially the sea that separates Mindanao from the Visayas,” he added.
The President had earlier placed Mindanao under martial law for 60 days following the terror activities committed by Islamic State-linked Maute Group in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur. A proclamation on the martial law declaration was signed by the President while in Russia but a copy has not yet been released.
For now, the President said he has authorized the government troops to “spare no one” in hunting down the terror suspects and keeping peace and order in Mindanao.
Duterte also designated Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año as administrator of martial law. He decided to extend the tour of duty of Año for another six months, instead of appointing him as next secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government by June.
In the wake of the martial law declaration, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) in Mindanao were placed on full alert.
But AFP Public Affairs Office (AFP-PAO) chief Marine Colonel Edgard Arevalo assured yesterday that the situation in Marawi City has been stabilized and security forces are in full control of the situation.
Despite this assurance, police forces in Mindanao are working closely with the military to seal off all possible escape routes of the members of the Maute Group, Chief Supt. Dionardo Carlos, PNP spokesman, said.
Police commanders in Mindanao were also ordered to intensify security measures in their respective areas of jurisdiction to prevent the spillover of the attacks in Marawi City.
Carlos said all unit commanders were directed to conduct checkpoints and chokepoints and secure all the vital installations, economic key points, and places of convergence.
“They were also tasked to ensure high state of operational readiness to thwart any hostile action that maybe launched by terror groups,” said Carlos.