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Magnitude 6.6 earthquake strikes off southern Philippines

(Reuters) – An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.6 hit central Mindanao in the southern Philippines on Tuesday, shaking buildings and causing residents to rush from schools and offices.

The quake struck 26 km (16 miles) northeast of Tulunan, Cotabato at 9:04 am (0104 GMT), the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.

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There were no were immediate reports of casualties or major damage, but with several aftershocks to be expected, Phivolcs advised residents in affected areas to remain outside the buildings.

The earthquake also shook nearby provinces and cities, including Davao City, the hometown of President Rodrigo Duterte and among the most populous cities in the country.

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DZMM radio reported that power cables were seen swinging in Davao, while people rushed to open spaces, with some fainting because of fear.

Classes in schools were suspended after the earthquake.

It also triggered power cuts in General Santos city, ANC news channel reported.

The quake was initially reported as being of 6.7 magnitude by the European-Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC).

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Earthquakes are common in the Philippines, which is on the geologically active Pacific Ring of Fire.

On Oct. 16, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck central Mindanao, killing five people and injuring dozens.

(Reporting by Karen Lema; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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