Killer earthquake unlikely to hit Panay Island in near future – analyst

ILOILO CITY, (PNA) — It could take about 100 years after 1948 before a giant tremor would likely hit Panay Island again.

This was disclosed by a Philippine Institute Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) expert during the last quarter meeting of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council of Western Visayas Tuesday in this city.

Ramil Atando, science research analyst of PHIVOLCS, said the last killer earthquake that rocked Panay Island was in 1948, with a magnitude of 8.1, which partly destroyed the Jaro belfry here other heritage churches in the province of Iloilo.

Atando said that killer tremor was caused mainly by the moving West Panay Fault which stretches more than 90 kilometers from the municipality of Lambunao in central Panay to San Joaquin in southern Iloilo passing through the municipalities of Alimodian, Leon, Igbaras, Janiuay and other coastal towns in Iloilo.

The faultline reaches up to the municipalities of Jamindan and Tapaz in Capiz province and the municipalities of Libacao, Madalag, Ibajay and Malinao in the province of Aklan, but sparing the province of Antique which belongs to another faultline in Tablas Strait.

Also, Atando said the West Panay faultline will not be able to touch the biggest dam project in Panay, the Jalaur River Multi-purpose Project (JRMP) in Calinog, Iloilo, as it is located at a safe distance of more than 12 kilometers from the faultline.

Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog said that while buildings and structures in this city are okay after the Oct. 15 earthquake, it is imperative that the national government, especially the Tourism Infrastructures Economic Zone Authority (TIEZA), conduct a steel reinforcement of identified centuries-old churches.

Mabilog said that in his travels abroad, he had seen how the foreign governments care for their heritage buildings by reinforcing it with steel to protect and preserve these structures.

Atando said there are more than 20 earthquakes everyday in the Philippines but most of these tremors are not felt.