Magnitude 7.2 earthquake jolts Mindanao

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People were barred from entering a mall in Davao City following the earthquake.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 29) — A magnitude 7.2 earthquake shook the Mindanao region Saturday morning, prompting a tsunami alert that was lifted in the afternoon.

The quake struck offshore, southeast of Governor Generoso town in Davao Oriental at 11:39 a.m., the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.

Several aftershocks, as strong as magnitude 5.9, have been recorded.

At 3:00 p.m., Phivolcs canceled its tsunami advisory, saying "wave heights have returned to the normal tide level," after it monitored minor waves of up to 0.08 meter in Mati City, Davao Oriental. Phivolcs earlier urged people in some coasts in Mindanao to stay away from the beach avoid the coasts from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m.

Malacañang urged local government units in Mindanao to monitor and take precautionary measures following the tremor. "We ask everyone to be alert and cooperate as we pray for the safety of all," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

A "strong" intensity 5 was reported in Governor Generoso, Glan in Sarangani, and Koronadal City. The tremor was "moderately strong" at intensity 4 in General Santos City, Tupi in South Cotabato, Alabel and Kiamba in Sarangani, Mati City and Manay in Davao Oriental, and Davao City.

The shaking was also felt at intensity 3 in Makilala, North Cotabato; Valencia City and Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon; Cagayan De Oro City; Maitum, Sarangani; Tagum City; Mabini, Compostela Valley; Tacloban City; and Palo, Leyte. Intensity 2 was felt in Kadingilan and Don Carlos, Bukidnon; Tagoloan and El Salvador City, Misamis Oriental; M'lang, North Cotabato; and Surallah, South Cotabato. Zamboanga City felt the quake at intensity 1.

Phivolcs said the quake was tectonic - or there was a movement in the Earth's crust - with a depth of 54 kilometers. This means the tsunami it can generate "may not be very high," Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum told CNN Philippines.