Sagbayan unveiled a commemorative marker as Boholanos remember the lives lost during the 7.2 earthquake that struck Bohol a decade ago.

The local government unit of Sagbayan, in partnership with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) and the provincial government, unveiled the marker on Oct. 11 at the Sagbayan Municipal Hall, a structure badly damaged during the 7.2 magnitude earthquake on Oct. 15, 2013.

The marker, placed at the municipal hall, is a reminder to the Boholanos of the destruction brought upon the island during the earthquake that took the lives of 209 people in the province and destroyed more than 71,000 structures, including built heritage structures. Municipal Mayor Restituto Suarez and Vice Mayor Asuncion Ybañez led the ceremonies, attended by the Sangguniang Bayan members, municipal department heads, and employees. “It is a chance for us all to remember these people and their loved ones who grieved with them. Pulo na ka tuig ang nilabay pero presko pa sa atong huna huna ang mga panghitabo ug sakit siya palumdomon,” Suarez said in his welcome address. The mayor noted that the town has slowly risen from the tragedy. “Pero, hinay hinay kita ni bangon ug karon ania na kita sa 2023 nga mibarog, mibangon nga mas lig-on sa pag-atubang sa mga pagsuway sa atong lungsod,” Suarez added. Also present were Vice Gov. Dionisio Victor Balite, representing Gov. Aris Aumentado at the event, and Dr. Teresito Bacolcol, PHIVOLCS director, who both gave messages of support and praised the resiliency and the Bayanihan spirit Boholanos display amid tough conditions caused by natural hazards. Balite paid tribute to those who lost their lives in the tragedy, calling them “heroes in their own way,” as the earthquake became a catalyst for more Boholanos to be interested in seismology and disaster preparedness. Bacolcol, for his part, praised Bohol’s unique geology, composed of karst topography and limestone formations, evident in the island’s designation as the first UNESCO Global Geopark in the country. The director added that he hopes LGUs have increased their preparations in the event of another major earthquake, saying the aftermath of 2013 should serve as a reminder to build safer, earthquake-resistant infrastructures and implement robust risk reduction measures.

Sagbayan was recorded as the epicenter, 6 km in the southwest area, and has a 12 km depth, with a level eight seismic intensity that took the lives of 18 people in the municipality. PHIVOLCS described the 2013 phenomenon as a unique occurrence, being the first recorded reverse thrust fault-type earthquake to happen inland in the Philippines, as most of its kind arises off-shore. A thrust fault earthquake is where the ground movement goes up vertically rather than horizontally. This explains why some areas in Bohol, such as Loon and Maribojoc, experienced land uplifting since the island’s geology was reverse fault dominant. 

By: Gavin Michael Cubillo/ The Provincial Information and Media Office