CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — Wanted: More geologists.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) needs more staffers as quakes and related hazards become more frequent.
Renato Solidum, science undersecretary and officer-in-charge of Phivolcs, said more geologists would be needed “in light of additional monitoring” of more quakes.
Solidum spoke on the sidelines of a disaster summit organized by the Pampanga provincial government on Wednesday.
Phivolcs has at least 80 personnel in two divisions that map hazards and assess quake damage, Solidum said.
The number of additional staffers needed is still being determined, he said.
But Filipino geologists and engineers, however, often leave for work abroad, Solidum said.
Phivolcs records an average of 20 earthquakes daily.
“When a strong or major earthquake occurs, there will be more [tremors] because of aftershocks,” Solidum said.
According to Phivolcs, big magnitude earthquakes are caused by movements along the 1,200-kilometer Philippine Fault Zone (PFZ), which runs from northwestern Luzon to southeastern Mindanao.
The latest quake was recorded at magnitude 6.5 that struck Leyte province at 4:03 p.m. on July 6, following the movement of the Leyte segment of PFZ.
The epicenter was located 15.5 km northeast of Ormoc City at a depth of 2 km.
The quake damaged several school buildings, roads, bridges and geothermal facilities.
Phivolcs said four earthquakes rocked Leyte on July 5, 1994 (magnitude 6.2), June 7, 1947 (magnitude 6.9), Sept. 27, 1863 (magnitude 6.1) and Feb. 7, 1890 (magnitude 6.4).
Aftershocks in Leyte may continue for several weeks, some of which may be felt, Phivolcs said. —Tonette Orejas
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