The Philippine Volcanology and Seismology Commission (PHILVOCS) observation station in the City came out Wednesday with its official interpretation of the July 16 killer temblor as the most destructive earthquake to have ever visited the Cordillera Region, with the City of Baguio as the hardest hit area in terms of destruction to properties and death to nearly a thousand people.

In a recent statement issued by PHILVOCS, the 45 seconds-long July 16 quake measuring 7.7 in the open-ended Richter scale was suspected to have been triggered off by two tectonic movements. The first temblor was plotted 120 degrees East and 15.6 degrees North, exactly located North of Cabanatuan City, at a strength of intensity 8.0 while the second was believed to have its epicenter in Benguet.

The conclusion was arrived at, PHILVOCS said, as data in the seismograph showed two superimposed graph lines moving separately of each other. Jibing with PHILVOCS observation was the people's layman observation of unusual strength of the second tremor that was palpably much stronger than the initial shake which was unusual in the history of earthquake monitoring system in the world.

There were more than 600 aftershocks recorded, half of which were felt by the people. The intermittent aftershocks occuring during the earth's stupor from its normal orbit would continue until the fault's own movement in the unsettled fissure will have closed by the quake's own aftershocks.

The Monday July 16 quake registered a surface magnitude of 6.2 while aftershocks average an intensity of 3.5 mostly in the first two days. The strongest aftershock tremor was recorded 3.15 o'clock in the morning of last Wednesday at 5.3 intensity with the duration of eight seconds followed by an intensity 4 tremor eight days after, Philvocs said. The July 16 killer quake was considered far stronger than the destructive California tremblor of 1938.

* Source: Baguio Midland Courier/July 22 & 29, 1990 Edition.

By: Bony A. Bengwayan, Jr.

Thousand pounds of medicine continue to be distributed in different parts of the region while special surveillance teams from the Department of Health (DOH) are monitoring possible areas for epidemic outbreak. To date, Dr. Juvencio Ordona, the newly fielded DOH-CAR regional director disclosed that there was no outbreak of any epidemic particularly in Baguio City and other outlying areas.

As of August 2, hospitals of Baguio General, Notre Dame, Chinese, Benguet, Saint Louis, Philippine Military Academy and Philex treated a total of 1,462 earthquake-related victims while some 37 patients have not yet been discharged. Ordona said that so far, the Baguio Health Department has issued about 212 death certificates directly related to the disaster. At the evacuation centers, about nineteen latrines were built by the DOH and were equipped with lime while over ninety damaged buildings have been sprayed and fumigated.

Immunization teams have also given anti-measle to about 347 children while over 23,667 families availed of chlorine to treat their water. Ordona also said that during the second day of the disaster, health secretary Alfredo Bengzon planed in and immediately conducted medical relief. A day later health under-secretary Mario Taguiwalo and Tony Periquet arrived to oversee operations.

Ordona further revealed that there was never any hospital refusing patients during the critical days of the disaster, apparently referring to published reports that two hospitals in Baguio refused to accommodate earthquake victims. Even the Visayan region contributed much by sending in their ambulances and all fully loaded with medicine, aside from medical vehicles of Region 1 and Manila.

* Source: Baguio Midland Courier/August 5, 1990 Edition.


Twenty days since the 7.7 tremblor that rocked the Cordillera range, basic prime commodities and public utilities started inching back to normalcy although only Naguilian Road remained open to traffic on staggered scheduled route. It was also reported that two Benguet municipalities were still isolated from the rest of the province and that the distribution of relief items to earthquake victims will begin to taper down today. The continuing daily occasional aftershocks and prevailing moonsoon rains had been hampering repair and rehabilitation of public works in the ravaged portions of the province.

Hyatt Terraces management, in a press briefing Friday, assured relatives of victims for the recovery of remains of at least 40 more people believed to be still trapped in the collapsed hotel. Hyatt Baguio's spokeperson Maria Therese Necio disclosed that the hotel management had approved "pick and search" operations starting next week with the arrival of more sophisticated heavy earth-moving equipment.

The shift to the new type of demolition operations was in consonance with the recommendation made by three mining groups which feared the stability of the rubble could have weakened as every portion of the heaped concrete slabs was already tunneled through in the earlier rescue search.

Rescuers in the Hyatt ruins identified the survivors as Arnel Calaba, Luisa Mallorca, and Pedrito Dy. Calaba and Mallorca, employed in the Casino Filipino Baguio branch as internal security and chambermaid, respectively, were retrieved July 27 along a hallway believed to be on the collapse third floor.

* Source: Baguio Midland Courier/August 5, 1990 Edition.


The Association Of Structural Engineers Of The Philippines (ASEP), last week wound up their inspection work of earthquake damaged buildings in Baguio City. Of more than 350 inspected edifices, consisting of public, publicly-used and private buildings, 190 structures were pronounced building hazards, 110 edifices were deemed partially damaged and may be partially occupied, and 54 buildings showed no observable damage or only minor damage thus allowing resumption of their normal operation.

The ASEP inspection-appraisal of Baguio edifices after the July 16 earthquake was conducted by way of assisting City Engineers Office and the Department of Public Works and Highways, in cooperation with the Rotary Clubs of Baguio. The teams of structural engineers from Manila had already gone back home to their jobs, but it was suggested that the City Engineers Office and local engineers may have to continue further inspection of other buildings and residences.

Structures considered building hazards were marked as "stay away areas" and, if not recommended for demoliton, would be recommended for more detailed investigation by qualified structural engineers and for necessary repairs and/or rehabilitation. The building owners, administrators or occupants were informed of the results of the inspection at the time of inspection.

Official written reports may be obtained from the Office of the City Engineer. Copies of inspection results have also been given to the Rotary Relief and Rehabilitation Center and to media outlets. City Engineer Valentino L. Julian released the following partial list of buildings and establishments which were served demolition orders:

  • Cafe Amapola
  • Villanueva Building
  • Hilltop Hotel
  • Royal Inn
  • Queen Victoria Hotel
  • Siesta Inn
  • Sky World Condominium
  • Nevada Hotel
  • Baguio Park Hotel
  • Sy Building
  • Connie Ang Building
  • St. Francis Convent Bldg #1
  • Philippine Banking Corp. Bldg
  • Church of the Resurrection
  • Swiss Chalet
  • Baguio Country Club & Hotel Ext
  • Maresciel Theater
  • Rose Bowl Building
  • Blessed Boarding House
  • Marysville Dormitory
  • Tantiangco Building
  • Rice & Ozaata Building
  • Recolletos Seminary Water Tank
  • Pines City Educational Center
  • FRB Building
  • Univ. of Baguio Commerce Bldg
  • Hyatt Terraces Plaza
  • Baguio Export Processing Zone
  • Aurora Theater
  • Juanita Cruz Building
  • Included in the partial list were the following apartments and residences:

    * Source: Baguio Midland Courier/August 5, 1990 Edition.


    In various parts of Baguio City, one finds soup kitchens to service those rendered homeless or forced out of their homes by the earthquake. The initial effort was thought of by the Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines in coordination with some Baguio restauranteurs.

    The Department of Tourism facilitated the endeavor by providing for transportation and communications without which, the project could not have become a reality. Individuals lighted the fire that has made possible the preparation of hot meals for survivors of the Baguio Earthquake of July 16, 1990.

    When it shook Luzon, people in Manila watched as Baguio showed signs of widespread devastation. In Manila, Nancy Reyes, of the Aristocrat family and Undersecretary Raffy Alunan arranged for the transport of food to Baguio. Stranded in Manila, Baboo Mondonedo, through Louie Llamado's suggestion, agreed to facilitate the establishment of soup kitchens. Bringing foodstuff, medicine and generators, they took a Philippine Airlines flight towards Baguio on July 19. This was the beginning.

    In Baguio, Cafe By The Ruins owners Laida Perez, Christine Arvisu, Ben Cabrera, Boy Yuchengco, David Baradas, Robert Villanueva and Baboo planned the establishment of a feeding center at the Cafe'. The Cafe' was closed for the yearly rainy season vacation of the management and staff and so it was decided to re-open it as a temporary relief center.

    Today, the soup kitchen services more than 150 families camped around its premises. It provides meals for 1,000 people a day. More than 500 children under eight are given hot milk twice a day. Some assistance was received from government agencies. Bigay-Puso turned over 55 tents while canvass for shelter, rice and foodstuff was given in limited quantities by the Department of Social Welfare Services.

    The Fire Department of Metro Manila (from Mandaluyong, Navotas, Quezon City, Marikina beyond the call of duty) and the Department of Natural Resources has provided water supply while the Department of Health gave medical assistance. Worth noting were assistance from the Department of Tourism staff with workhourse Raffy Alunan and Airport Manager Ed Carrascoso who showed their dedication and untiring support in ensuring the delivery of foodstuff to the soup kitchen.

    The private sector provided for most of the support for Soup Kitchen. Contributions and donations came from individuals Cristy Lopez, Bingbing Santos, Melon Recto, Elizabeth Alunan, Cecilia Manahan, Ding Navasero, Bimbo de los Reyes, Angie Mondonedo, Eric Picart and Charles Ang.

    The ABS-CBN Foundation, the Chinese community in Manila and Baguio, the Baguio Arts Guild, the staff of Bookmark, Cafe Amapola, Mario's, Quicksilver, the Yuchengco family of Rizal Commercial and Banking Corporation, the Weygan Family of Baguio School of Business and Technology, Child Family Service, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes and Pugad Lawin are among many others who gave rice, foodstuff and cash.

    The members of the manila and Baguio media also contributed significantly in communicating the sufferings, needs and sentiments of the Baguio people, which gave insight to the donors and contributors. Through these efforts of the government and private sector and the workers and volunteers (mostly from the student populace) who contributed their hours, the Cafe By The Ruins Soup Kitchen can provide hot meals for thousands.

    From this mother kitchen, other emergency kitchens were established in eight other areas - Dona Aurora School, Brookspoint, Bayan Park, Country Club Village, Holy Ghost, Gabriela Silang, P. Burgos and Zamora, Bakakeng and Labsan.

    * Source: Baguio Midland Courier/August 5, 1990 Edition.


    Warning to the public of the possible outbreak of epidemic was issued by the Department of Health which recommended the observance of personal hygiene particularly in the congested areas inhabited by fleeing residents.

    The DOH warning came in the wake of the destructive July 16 earthquake that struck the province with such magnitude as to scare residents into staying outdoors, putting up tent homes on relatively safer grounds, abandoning their abodes the past 11 days under conditions bereft of sanitation facilities. The unsanitary disposal of wastes in their refugee area, the litter of spoiled foods and rubbish and lack of potable water aggravated by the intermittent inclement weather condition, all conducive to the epidemic incidence of deadly diseases.

    The DOH particularly feared the spread of typhoid fever, diarrhea, amoebiasis, cholera and other gastro intestinal sickness in the temporary makeshift refugee camp. Health authorities appealed to the public to cooperate with measures designed to check incidence of epidemic and urged the fleeing quake-threatened house owners to observe the recommended preventive measures namely:

    On the early first signs of sickness, immediately seek medical help, DOH added. To allay fears of an epidemic, DOH created medical teams with stations at different barangays in the city. As part of preventive purposes, tons of relief medicines were distributed to earthquake victims.

    It was also learned that two Benguet municipalities had been isolated for almost two weeks after the earthquake and reported suffering from the dreaded diseases. Quake victims from Bokod and the mining community of Philex were believed afflicted by cholera and typhoid fever, respectively.

    * Source: Baguio Midland Courier/August 5, 1990 Edition.


    A modular instruction program for adoption in two educational levels came up last week from the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS-CAR) as solution to the disrupted school year schedule brought about by the devastating July 16 earthquake that damaged several school buildings.

    Two other Baguio educational groups however, had expressed preference for extending the suspension of classes to two months for safety precautionary measures. The Saint Louis University and the Alliance of Concerned Teachers-Baguio (ACT) moved for the extension of suspension of classes for another month to pave way for evaluation and repair of damaged school buildings.

    The modular program, Sawadan stressed, will apply to private and government school institutions in the earthquake affected regions from grades 4 to 6 including the whole four years level of high school. Grades 1 to 3 will resume its normal classroom instruction using school buildings declared safe for occupancy by the City's Structural Assessment task force.

    The DECS-CAR also revealed its need of tents for makeshift classrooms in anticipation of the scheduled resumption of classes on August 20. The DECS also hinted that under consideration was a proposal for a six-day week school schedule to catch up with the normal requirement of 190 days for elementary and secondary levels. Dean Galo Reyes, SLU legal counsel, announced in a press statement the resumption of classes at SLU on September 17 after by which time the university shall have completed the necessary repair works on its damage structures.

    Subject to DECS approval, the proposed adjusted school calendar will run till December with the second semester starting from January to April next year. Dean Reyes also clarified that student housing could not be ascertained as of this time as there was no actual count of damaged dormitories and housing facilities. The Baguio City Educational Council (BCEC) at its meeting Wednesday considered several proposals particularly the "viable contractual assignment scheme wherein college students will be spoonfed with important teaching relative to board exams-accredited courses."

    The BCEC also envisioned sending college professors to proposed educational centers in the different provinces where students reside, to apply the contractual assignment scheme. In a related development, Education secretary Isidro Carino issued guidelines on the temporary admissions of students from earthquake stricken areas to other schools. Secretary Carino's directive stated that under no circumstances should pupils in the elementary and students in the secondary levels be refused admission. These transferees, Carino declared, were to be considered temporarily enrolled until after school records shall have been submitted within the current school year.

    In the tertiary level, transferees will be readily admitted pending submission also of credentials. In quota courses, the school may admit ten percent more students on top of the required maximum. Although advanced paid tuition shall not be refunded to students from the school of origin, tuition shall be collected by institutions chosen by transfering students only for the equivalent of the remaining period of the first semester. Meanwhile, the University of the Philippines College Baguio last week released its academic calendar as approved by U.P. president Jose V. Abueva:

    * Source: Baguio Midland Courier/August 5, 1990 Edition.

    By: Tina S. Sales

    The July 16 "Killer Quake" wrought extensive damages to public and private property leaving thousands homeless and killing nearly 300 persons in this province.

    The temblor which registered intensity 7.7 on the Richter Scale displaced about 51,294 families numbering about 301,284 persons from the 13 municipalities of Benguet as reported by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council.

    There were 790 reported casualties as of this writing. Out of this total figure, 257 were confirmed dead, 517 persons were injured while there were 16 persons reported as missing. These reports were collated from municipal mayors, police station commanders and municipal secretaries among others who had to hike several kilometers just to give in their casualty and property damage reports.

    * Source: Baguio Midland Courier/July 22 & 29, 1990 Edition.

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