Bohol ‘moved’ 55 centimeters toward Cebu

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Thursday, December 5, 2013


TAGBILARAN -- Part of Bohol, including Tagbilaran City, moved 55 centimeters toward Cebu, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) Director Renato Solidum Jr. revealed Wednesday.

Solidum told local government officials during a forum on disasters, climate change and marine biodiversity that the phenomenon was caused by the October 15 earthquake, but does not pose a risk on Bohol or Cebu.

Still, he urged local leaders and residents to be better prepared.

“Build back better,” Solidum urged Boholanos during the forum organized by Ecofish (Ecosystems Improved for Sustainable Fisheries), a project funded by the US Agency for International Development.

Several houses, schools, churches, bridges and other public infrastructure in the northern part of Bohol were damaged or destroyed when a magnitude-7.2 earthquake occurred last October 15.

Design and construction are important factors to consider if a structure can withstand an earthquake of the same magnitude as the one on October 15, Solidum said.

Phivolcs, together with the Japan International Cooperation Agency, is finalizing a tool, a questionnaire, that will help ordinary households evaluate if their houses are safe during earthquakes.

The questionnaire includes questions like how thick were the hollow blocks used in the construction of the house, the size of steel bars used and the width of the gaps between them, and size of the structure’s foundation. It will also ask homeowners if the ground where their houses are built on is soft.

Solidum stressed that LGUs should make sure that no one builds on fault zones.

Areas where there are indications of “subtle elevation differences” -- whether part of the ground has risen or subsided -- should be no-build zones, as well.

He said that while it is unlikely for the generator of the October 15 earthquake -- the North Bohol Fault -- to cause another tremor of the same energy within the lifetime of the present generation, this should not be a reason to be complacent.

“That fault (North Bohol) might not move in several hundreds of years, but there are other faults and volcanoes (in other parts of the Philippines) that will generate earthquakes,” he said. (Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 05, 2013.

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