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Mom, girl nabbed in tsunami scare

A mother and her 17-year-old daughter who allegedly spread the false tsunami alarm on Wednesday night are now under police custody.

Lt. Col. Jed Clamor, the Toril Police Station commander, said Evelyn (real name withheld), 47, and “Dianne,” the 17-year-old daughter, of Kalubin-an, Daliao, were endorsed to him at 2:45 p.m. by Barangay Captain Roldolfo Te of Daliao, Toril District.

After an interview by the station’s Women and Children’s Protection Desk, Dianne was turned over to the City Social Service and Development Office (CSSDO) around 4 p.m. yesterday.

Clamor said Dianne’s Facebook post caused hundreds of families to evacuate to Mulig, Eden, Lubogan, Tagluno, and Bangkas in Toril district.

The evacuation resulted to a three-hour traffic congestion in Toril right after the 7:45 p.m. earthquake on Wednesday.

Evelyn said the tsunami information did not originate from them.

She said someone riding on a motorcycle passed by their community and warned of an impending tsunami.

Evelyn told her daughter Dianne about it. The daughter, in turn, posted it on her Facebook page to warn other people.

Rodrigo Bustillo, operations officer of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRMMO), said those who spread false disaster warning should face the consequence of their wrongdoings.

“We can’t allow that (spreading fake tsunami alert) again and again,” Bustillo said.

Despite the false tsunami information that led residents to evacuate, Bustillo said it has positive and negative impacts.

“People are now alert and know where to go in case of tsunami incident,” Bustillo said.

The bad thing is, he said, it has caused damaged much worse than the earthquake itself, citing the traffic mess.

City Information Officer Jefry Tupas, in a statement, said residents in 16 coastal barangays evacuated due to misleading tsunami information following the earthquake.

Residents in barangays 21-C and Brgy 22-C in Poblacion District, barangays Matina Aplaya, Matina Crossing, Matina Pangi, Talomo Proper, Bucana, Dumoy, Bago Aplaya in Talomo District and barangays Binugao, Sirawan, Lizada, Daliao, Crossing Bayabas, Lubugan, and Toril Proper in Toril District evacuated following the earthquake, apparently for fear of tsunami.

Those from the Poblacion and Talomo districts fled to Shrine Hills, while those in Toril district took safety at Barangay Eden and other mountainous areas in the district.

Bustillo said the public should only rely on advisories released by the proper authority. The city is activating its sirens as an early warning for the residents to leave their houses.

“If they won’t hear noise from the siren, there is no imminent danger,” he said.

On social media, information can be checked on official Facebook pages of City Hall and CDRRMO.

“Not on anyone’s social media page or from the screaming of anybody,” Bustillo told ABS-CBN’s Southern Mindanao TV Patrol.

He also advised the public to participate in disaster drills as it will surely give the participants the survival instinct.

At least five persons were reportedly killed outside the city in the earthquake that hit major parts of the island on Wednesday night.

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