MANILA -- A third powerful earthquake in a month jolted Mindanao on Thursday, cracking roads and destroying buildings that withstood the previous tremors, officials said.
The magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck past 9 a.m. off Tulunan, North Cotabato, the same general area of the previous 2 earthquakes. At least 5 were killed in Tuesday's earthquake.
President Rodrigo Duterte was safe in his hometown, Davao City, when the quake struck, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said. Some residents there ran from shaking buildings while the 3-story Ecoland 4000 condominium reportedly sustained cracks.
In Makilala town, Batasan village chairman Benjie Bangot was found dead beneath the rubble of the barangay hall.
In Kidapawan City, the 5-story Eva's Hotel nearly collapsed, based on initial photos from the scene. Nine to 12-inch long cracks were observed in some North Cotabato roads, said Governor Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza.
"This is a very strong quake," Taliño-Mendoza told ANC. Authorities are checking reports that people were trapped in the collapsed structures.
Some buildings and covered courts that survived the previous 2 earthquakes are now "totally damaged," she said. Aside from Kidapawan, Tulunan, Makilala and Glan towns were also reportedly hit.
"We're looking for more infrastructure going down this time. With the third quake some of the buildings really went down," she said.
Terrified Tulunan residents ran into the streets as the quake was felt at a "very destructive" intensity 7 there, said Mayor Reuel Limbungan.
"Wala ka nang makitang tao na nasa loob ng bahay. Lahat ngayon andito sa kalye, andito sa open spaces," he told radio DZMM.
(You won't see anyone inside their houses. Everyone is in the streets, open spaces.)
Kidapawan locals "need all the help we can get," said Mayor Joseph Evangelista.
"This is a first time for Kidapawan... We are at a loss on how to do it so we need experts on how to do it," he said.
Classes in all levels are suspended in Davao City on Thursday due to the quake, the local government said on Facebook.
The US Geological Survey measured the quake at magnitude 6.8.