Powerful 6.8-magnitude quake strikes near Davao City in the Philippines

Latest  news  on the Philippines.  Various  matters  on politics,  social  concerns  and  other issues  relative  to  the  on-going  developments in the  country.

16 December 2019

A powerful earthquake measuring 6.8-magnitude has struck the Philippines near the city of Davao, with one child reported to have died and 14 people been injured as tremors sent locals fleeing in panic from damaged homes and shopping centres.

The quake was centred 38 miles southwest of Davao on the island of Mindanao, at a depth of 28.2km, the US Geological Survey said, revising down the magnitude from an earlier reported 6.9.

Sunday’s tremor cracked schools, toppled homes and injured dozens but largely spared big cities on the island of Mindanao, which is still recovering from a string of deadly quakes in October.

Searchers have pulled survivors from the collapsed market building in the town of Padada, but were still looking for a person who had texted authorities saying six people were trapped under the rubble.

Those quakes killed some two dozen people and forced tens of thousands into shelters as well as heavily damaging homes and offices.

The Philippines is situated on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, an arc of intense seismic activity that stretches from Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.

Searchers were fanning out across the quake-hit areas of Mindanao on to fully assess the damage, but have already reported several schools and hospitals were cracked.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who is from Davao and was there during the quake, was not hurt.

“The first lady… said the car she was riding (in) was swaying,” spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

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Duterte certifies as urgent bill increasing salaries of state workers

A bill seeking to increase the salary of government civilian workers has been certified as urgent by President Duterte.

The President sent a letter to Senate President Vicente Sotto III certifying “the necessity of the immediate enactment” of Senate Bill No. 1219 or the “Salary Standardization Law of 2019.” Duterte’s letter to Sotto was dated December 13.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signs the Republic Act 11033 'Converting the Davao Oriental State College of Science and Technology into a State University' and Republic Act 11032 or 'Ease of Doing Business Act' during the ceremonial enactment at Malacañan Palace on May 28, 2018. Joining the President are Senate President Vicente Sotto III and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

The priority bill is also known as “An Act modifying the salary schedule for civilian government personnel and authorizing the grant of additional benefits, and for the purposes.”

Under the bill, the salary increase for government civilian personnel will be distributed in four trances, starting January 2020. Upon full implementation, the measure will raise the salaries fo workers by an average of 23.24 percent by 2023.

A proposed salary hike for public school teachers and other government workers is among the priority measures endorsed by President Duterte during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July.

“I believe it is time to pass the Salary Standardization Law. Ngayon na. To the teachers, who toil and work tirelessly to educate our young, kasama na po kayo dito,” he said in his annual address before a joint session of Congress.

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