Classes were suspended in all levels in Bohol and Cebu and in other hard-hit areas as officials checked the integrity of school buildings.
As of Tuesday afternoon, 241 aftershocks have been recorded.
Solidum advised people affected by the quake to check their houses for structural damages.
"Our concern are the aftershocks. People should inspect their houses to make sure that the damages are not structural or no beams and columns were affected before they occupy the building," he said.
Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa said that the Department of Public Works and Highways will inspect all establishments, buildings and schools in places affected by the earthquake.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines created a disaster crisis committee and deployed soldiers and equipment in earthquake areas.
President Benigno Aquino 3rd said he will be visiting Bohol and other areas affected by the quake before he flies to South Korea on Thursday.
"I'll be going to Bohol and Cebu tomorrow and, if possible other areas. And if the assessment is that there are a lot of things that are not being taken care of then we will reconsider the visit.
[But], as of this time, [all] things that have to be done are being done," he told reporters.
Immediately after the quake, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) sent two rescue teams to assist in the clearing operations in Bohol and Cebu.
MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino personally deployed two eight-man teams to Tagbilaran in Bohol and Cebu City.
"The provincial government of Bohol and Cebu need all the help they could get to weather this calamity. We at the MMDA are more than willing to provide assistance in whatever way we can," Tolentino said.
He said each team is equipped with extrication power tools, bolt cutters, chainsaws and trauma kit. They also carried body bags.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) released P10 million to its field office in Visayas to purchase relief goods for the families affected by the quake.
DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman said that the department has prepositioned 2,000 family food packs and 100 laminated sacks, which will be airlifted today to Cebu City using a C-130 plane of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Soliman said that the DSWD also activated and dispatched members of their Quick Response Teams to coordinate with local government units in assessing the impact of the 7.2 quake.
"We are awaiting reports from our QRT teams. Rest assured that DSWD has enough resources to address the needs of affected families, if any," Soliman said.
Sen. Sergio Osmena, who comes from Cebu, called on the public to pray for the people affected by the earthquake.
"Let us also pray for the safety of our fellow Cebuanos and Boho-lanos, who continue to experience strong aftershocks and who are now without power after the quake triggered a blackout in the affected provinces. This is a difficult time for our nation. I appeal to all sectors to set aside their differences and stop the dissonance that has sown discord between and among the
Filipino people. Let us work together to bring emergency assistance to the earthquake-hit provinces and to relieve the sufferings of our Visayan brothers and sisters," he said in a statement.
British Ambassador designate to the Philippines Asif Ahmad expressed sympathies to the Philippine government.
The ambassador, in a statement, said there were no British nationals affected by the earthquake.
"Reports of the earthquake in Bohol and Cebu reached me as it happened this morning. I am saddened to hear of the loss of lives in the region and it will be some time before the full extent of the damage becomes known," Ahmad said.
"Whilst there have been no reports of injury to Britons, this is a region that has proven to be hospitable to many British nationals over the years," he added.
The Philippines lies on the so-called Ring of Fire, a vast Pacific Ocean region where many of Earth's earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.
More than 100 people were left dead or missing in February last year after an earthquake struck on Negros island, about 100 kilometers from the epicenter of Tuesday's quake.
The deadliest recorded natural disaster in the Philippines occurred in 1976, when a tsunami triggered by a 7.9magnitude earthquake devastated the Moro Gulf on the southern island of Mindanao.
Between 5,000 and 8,000 people were killed, according to official estimates.
With reports from Bernice Camille Bauzon, Benjie Vergara, AFP and PNA
(c)2013 The Manila Times (Manila, Philippines)
Visit The Manila Times (Manila, Philippines) at www.manilatimes.net
Distributed by MCT Information Services
Original headline: Quake wrecks Bohol, Cebu
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