2019 Cotabato earthquakes
2019 Cotabato earthquakes is located in Mindanao
Cebu City
Cebu City
General Santos
General Santos
Cagayan De Oro
Cagayan De Oro
Butuan City
Butuan City
Puerto Princesa
Puerto Princesa
2019 Cotabato earthquakes (Mindanao)
2019 Cotabato earthquakes is located in Philippines
Cebu City
Cebu City
General Santos
General Santos
Puerto Princesa
Puerto Princesa
2019 Cotabato earthquakes (Philippines)
UTC time 
 A: 2019-10-16 11:37:06
 B: 2019-10-29 01:04:44
 C: 2019-10-31 01:11:19
ISC event 
 A: 616636559
 B: 616739626
 C: 616742152
 A: ComCat
 B: ComCat
 C: ComCat
Local date 
 A: October 16, 2019 (2019-10-16)[1]
 B: October 29, 2019 (2019-10-29)[2]
 C: October 31, 2019 (2019-10-31)[3]
Local time 
 A: 7:37 pm (PST)[1]
 B: 9:04 am (PST)[2]
 C: 9:11 am (PST)[3]
 A: 6.3 Mwp
 B: 6.6 Mww
 C: 6.5 Mww
 A: 14.1 km (9 mi)
 B: 15.3 km (10 mi)
 C: 10.0 km (6 mi)
Epicenter6°45′N 125°00′E / 6.75°N 125.00°E / 6.75; 125.00Coordinates: 6°45′N 125°00′E / 6.75°N 125.00°E / 6.75; 125.00
22 km southeast of Tulunan, Cotabato
Areas affectedSoccsksargen, Davao Region, Bangsamoro, Caraga
Max. intensityVIII (Severe) – MMS
VII (Destructive) – PEIS[4]
  • October 16: 7 dead, 215 injured
  • October 29 and 31: 24 dead, 11 missing, 563 injured

The 2019 Cotabato earthquakes were an earthquake swarm which struck the province of Cotabato on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines in October 2019.[6] Three of these earthquakes were above 6.0 on the moment magnitude scale with a Mercalli intensity of VIII. More than 40 people have been reported dead or missing and nearly 800 were injured as a result of these events.

Tectonic setting

Mindanao lies across the complex convergent boundary between the Sunda Plate and the Philippine Sea Plate.[7] Part of the oblique convergence between these plates is taken up by subduction along the Cotabato Trench. The strike-slip component of the convergence is accommodated partly by the Philippine Fault System and partly by the Cotabato Fault System, a network of mainly NW-SE trending sinistral (left-lateral) strike-slip faults that form the boundary between the Cotabato Arc and the Central Mindanao Volcanic Belt.[8] In the area of the October 2019 earthquakes series, the individual faults include the NW-SE trending South Columbio Fault, North Columbio Fault, M'Lang Fault, Makilala–Malungon Fault and Tangbulan Fault, and the SW-NE trending Makilala Fault and Balabag Fault.[9]

Earthquakes M≥5.0

Events at or above Mw  5.0 associated with the 2019 Cotabato earthquakes
Date Time (UTC) Magnitude Mw Intensity Depth Location Ref.
October 16 11:37:05 6.4 VIII 12.8 km (8.0 mi) 7 km (4.3 mi) ENE of Columbio [10]
October 16 12:09:31 5.3 VI 9.9 km (6.2 mi) 10 km (6.2 mi) ENE of Columbio [11]
October 18 22:52:18 5.0 III 28.1 km (17.5 mi) 7 km (4.3 mi) W of Magsaysay [12]
October 19 11:44:28 5.2 III 10.0 km (6.2 mi) 4 km (2.5 mi) S of Magsaysay [13]
October 20 08:55:32 5.2 V 10.0 km (6.2 mi) 7 km (4.3 mi) N of Lambayong [14]
October 20 11:50:35 5.0 V 10.0 km (6.2 mi) 8 km (5.0 mi) WNW of Kiblawan [15]
October 21 11:59:43 5.1 V 10.0 km (6.2 mi) 6 km (3.7 mi) NW of Kiblawan [16]
October 29 01:04:44 6.6 VIII 15.3 km (9.5 mi) 14 km (8.7 mi) E of Bual [17]
October 29 02:22:35 5.0 V 10.0 km (6.2 mi) 1 km (0.62 mi) SE of Saguing [18]
October 29 02:42:39 5.8 VII 10.0 km (6.2 mi) 10 km (6.2 mi) E of Bagontapay [19]
October 29 08:33:12 5.3 III 10.0 km (6.2 mi) 11 km (6.8 mi) E of Bagontapay [20]
October 29 08:46:03 5.2 V 10.0 km (6.2 mi) 2 km (1.2 mi) SW of Dolo [21]
October 29 21:22:07 5.0 12.9 km (8.0 mi) 7 km (4.3 mi) W of Magsaysay [22]
October 31 01:11:19 6.5 VIII 10.0 km (6.2 mi) 0 km (0 mi) NW of Bulatukan [23]

Major earthquakes

Map of the M≥5 earthquakes from the October 2019 sequence, highlighting the three largest. The location of the main active faults are also shown

October 16

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) reported that an earthquake of 6.3 magnitude was recorded at 19:37 PST (UTC+8) with a depth of 14.1 kilometers (recorded as 6.4 Mw  at a depth of 12.8 km by the USGS). The epicenter was 7 kilometers ENE of Columbio,[10] 22 kilometers southeast of Tulunan, Cotabato where the earthquake was felt at Intensity VII.[1] VII was also reached at M'lang and Kidapawan. Intensity VI was reached at Tacurong, Santo Niño in South Cotabato, and Digos in Davao del Sur. The earthquake was a result of sinistral movement on a NW-SE trending strike-slip fault.[24]

Philippine government seismologist Renato Solidum described the quake as "moderately powerful". The National Tsunami Center issues a statement saying no present tsunami threat from the earthquake.[25][26][27]

Three malls in Davao City reported damage following the earthquake.[28] In General Santos, the Gaisano Mall was mostly gutted following a fire triggered by the earthquake.[29] 143 buildings were damaged and one was destroyed. The damaged buildings included 40 houses, 70 schools, 7 health facilities, 10 commercial buildings, and 2 places of worship.[30]

October 29

On October 29, 2019, a 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck the island of Mindanao in the Philippines at a depth of 14.1 km, according to the USGS, and 7 km according to PHIVOLCS. The maximum perceived shaking was VII on both the PEIS and MMS scales. This intensity was reached in Tulunan, Makilala, Kidapawan City, Digos City, and Malungon. This earthquake was caused by movement on a different, but related, strike-slip fault to the October 16 event.[31][32]

A major fire broke out in General Santos City. There were power outages in many parts of Cotabato and locally in South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Sarangani.[33] At least ten deaths were reported, with a minimum of another four hundred injured.[34] The fatalities were reported in Arakan, Carmen, Tulunan, Makilala, Digos City, and Magsaysay. School classes were suspended in parts of North Cotabato, South Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat.[35]

October 31

On October 31, 2019, a 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck the island of Mindanao in the Philippines at a depth of 10 km according to the USGS, with the epicenter located 1 km south of Kisante. A maximum perceived shaking of VII (PEIS) was reported from Tulunan, Makilala, Kidapawan City, Santa Cruz, Matanao, Magsaysay, Bansalan and Digos City. Some buildings in Davao and Soccksargen were seriously damaged and some collapsed. The death toll of these two quakes (October 29 and 31) was raised to 24, with 563 people injured, and 11 still missing.[36] More than 300 aftershocks were recorded after the earthquake.

A hotel in Kidapawan City collapsed following the earthquake; fortunately, according National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), no one was inside in the building when the earthquake struck.[37] The Davao City government suspended the classes on all levels.[38] Affected residents in Makilala, Cotabato have begged on the highway for basic needs such as rice and tents.[39][40] According to the NDRRMC, about 30,000 families or 150,000 individuals affected by the earthquake.[39]


The earthquake sequence triggered a large number of landslides and rockslides. Municipalities affected by landslides include Kidapawan City, Antipas, Arakan, Makilala, M'Lang and Tulunan in Cotabato province; Magsaysay, Bansalan, Malalag, Matanao and Kiblawan in Davao Del Sur.[9] Three fatalities were caused by landslides triggered by the October 29 shock with a further six people reported missing. Two fatalities were caused by landslides triggered by the October 31 shock, with a further five people reported missing.[36]

Effects on infrastructure

Damage to infrastructure in the eight most badly affected areas from the earthquakes on October 29 and October 31[36]
Province Houses Schools Health facilities Other public structures Places of worship Commercial buildings Roads & Bridges
Destroyed Damaged Destroyed Damaged Destroyed Damaged Destroyed Damaged Destroyed Damaged Destroyed Damaged Destroyed Damaged
North Cotabato 21,120 7,915 20 505 21 76 25 41 5 14 9 24 0 15
Davao del Sur 2,185 7,505 2 260 27 129 3 2 0 0 1 12 0 9
Sultan Kudarat 14 24 0 132 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
Davao Occidental 1 20 1 3 1 4 0 4 0 0 0 4 0 0
Maguindanao 0 20 0 29 0 0 0 2 0 4 0 0 0 0
South Cotabato 1 17 0 223 0 2 0 3 0 0 0 5 0 2
Davao del Norte 0 0 0 113 0 2 0 15 0 1 0 1 0 1
Sarangani 0 0 13 98 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0



The US Ambassador to the Philippines, Sung Kim, and the EU delegation to the Philippines both offered their condolences to the Filipino people. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also sent his message of sympathy to Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.. The Chinese government has donated ¥3 million yuan (roughly equivalent to ₱22 million pesos) to support the disaster relief efforts in Mindanao.[41] Meanwhile, the Spanish Consulate in the Philippines pledged to donate up to 35,000 euros to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and 70,000 euros to assist people in water, hygiene and sanitation.[42]


The Provincial Government of South Cotabato, Sarangani and the City of General Santos was one of the first to initiate to help the citizens with blankets, trapal, food and water near the epicenter of the earthquake swarm, most especially in the Municipalities of Makilala, Tulunan, M'lang and City of Kidapawan.[43] Local citizens in Soccsksargen acted in both giving donations in the government processes and privately giving donations across the highway in Makilala, Tulunan and Kidapawan. The Davao City Government also helped the affected areas headed by Mayor Sara Duterte. The Island Garden City of Samal Government also went to Cotabato Province to give relief goods and drinking water. The Bangsamoro Government also went to the affected areas to give relief goods. The municipality of Datu Saudi Ampatuan Government also went to the area to share donations to help the affected people. Among other institutions that immediately helped where banks, malls, universities and schools in Soccsksargen and Davao Region to assist their fellow Mindanaoans in crisis.[43]

See also