MANILA, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III ordered Friday night all the agencies concerned to ensure the safety of the residents in areas affected by a 7.6 magnitude earthquake.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that Aquino instructed Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, who is head of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), to monitor the tsunami in coordination with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).
Aquino told Gazmin to ensure that the evacuation in the affected areas be peaceful and orderly.
Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman ordered her agency's field offices to deliver food packs if needed in areas affected by the earthquake.
Emergency evacuation was implemented after a strong earthquake hit central Philippine province of Northern Samar on Friday evening, according to provincial governor Paul Daza.
A major earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale jolted off the east coast of Philippine islands at 8:47 p.m. local time Friday. The epicenter of the quake was initially determined to be 146 km east of Samar with a depth of 34.9 km, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported.
Cracks were found in some roads and bridges in Northern Samar, though no casualties have been reported so far, local radio DZMM reported.
The tsunami warning is raised to level 3 for six Philippine provinces fronting the Pacific Ocean. People in coastal areas are strongly advised to immediately evacuate to higher ground, NDRRMC said.
"We have confirmed a 16 centimeter wave reported in Surigao island," Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology ( Phivolcs) chief Renato Solidum said on DZMM radio.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center lifted a tsunami alert for the Philippines and Indonesia later on Friday.
The Philippines sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" where continental plates collide, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activities.