By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The Negros Occidental Provincial Disaster Management Program Division (PDMPD) assured the Negrenses yesterday morning that the recent earthquakes experienced in the southern part of the province, particularly near Sipalay City, are normal.
PDMPD head Zeaphard Caelian made the statement after a total of 13 earthquakes were recorded between August 18 to September 7, 2021.
The biggest tremor recorded during the period was last September 5, wherein they recorded a magnitude 4.9 tremor.
According to Caelian, Negros island has a lot of earthquake generators, and frequent earthquakes may be experienced every month.
He explained the particular case of Sipalay City and the town of Hinoba-an wherein they seat near the Negros trench.
The island also has a few fault lines such as the Southern Negros Fault which traverses between the province and neighboring Negros Oriental; the Candoni Fault which connects with the Central Negros Fault located between Kabankalan City and the town of Mabinay in Negros Oriental.
There are also the West Negros Fault which is located near the towns of Binalbagan, Isabela, La Castellana, Moises Padilla, and the city of Himamaylan; and the East Negros Fault which stretched from the town of Toboso in northern Negros down to the town of Sibulan in Negros Oriental.
Data also gathered by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) in Negros Occidental recorded a total of 19 earthquakes in January, 19 in February, 22 in March, 15 in April, and 16 in May of this year.
Previously in 2018 during a visit to Bacolod City, Phivolcs director Renato Solidum Jr. recommended that the province should seriously look into constructing earthquake-resistant structures.
Solidum said buildings should be constructed with hollow blocks that are six-inches thick and use vertical steel bars with a spaced diameter of 10mm or 40cm to each other.
Following the major earthquake that took place in the neighboring province of Bohol in 2013 and with Negros Occidental being home to several century-old houses and churches, Solidum also recommended to local officials to seriously think about earthquake retrofitting to protect them from the possibility of a collapse./DGB, WDJ