MANILA (UPDATE) - A retired policeman was killed and several others were injured after a magnitude 6.6 quake hit Cataingan town, Masbate on Tuesday morning, officials said.
The tremor, initially measured at magnitude 6.5, hit 5 kilometers southwest of Cataingan town at 8:03 a.m., Phivolcs said.
Retired Police Col. Gilbert Sauro was buried beneath the rubble after his 3-story house collapsed, according to Masbate Police director Col. Joriz Cantoria.
Another resident, Ronalyn Condrillon was injured, the police said.
Four residents with minor injuries were treated at the town district hospital as authorities searched Sauro's collapsed home, Masbate provincial administrator Rino Revalo earlier said.
"Walang makapagsabi ilan tao nandun nung tinamaan ng lindol. Patuloy na pinaghuhukay ang area na binagsakan," he said, adding that heavy equipment has been deployed to the area.
(No one could say how many persons were inside when the earthquake hit. Search and rescue is ongoing in the area.)
"Talagang nag-collapse totally 'yung 3-story building niya. Bumagsak talaga sa lupa."
The province had felt tremors in recent days, measured at magnitudes 4.1 and 4.5, before the powerful quake hit, Revalo said.
Local officials are also considering to evacuate the Cataingan District Hospital and a coliseum housing asymptomatic COVID-19 patients following cracks due to the powerful quake.
"'Yun ospital natin at astrodome in-advise natin na kung maaari 'wag na muna gamitin hangga't di properly assessed," Revalo said.
(We advised personnel in our hospital and astrodome to avoid using the buildings until these are properly assessed.)
Revalo also advised the public against using the Cataingan port as it seems "severely damaged" based on photos submitted to their office.
Residents were warned against returning to their homes before these are properly assessed by city engineers.
"Sa mga kababayan naming lubhang naapektuhan ng lindol, naapektuhan ang bahay, i-assess nang mabuti. Kung kinakailangan, mag-stay sa kamag-anak until properly assessed ang structure na kanilang matutuluyan," he said.
(To those affected by the earthquake, assess your homes first. If needed, stay with your relatives until your house is properly assessed.)
Police said the quake also damaged the municipal police station, Public Attorney's Office, and both the old and new Cataingan Public market.
--With reports from Zhander Cayabyab, ABS-CBN News