Wednesday July 18, 2018

Bacolod downtown buildings to be checked for compliance

BACOLOD City Executive Assistant Jose Maria Vargas, cluster head for City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, said on Tuesday, July 12, that he will meet with the personnel of City Engineer’s Office to determine the repair compliance of building owners at the downtown area.

Vargas said they had notified the owners of buildings built 15 years ago and earlier to make advance repairs as soon as possible.

He said these buildings would suffer major cracks in case of earthquake scenario.

Vargas had earlier identified about 30 percent of commercial buildings in downtown area that are not stable enough to withstand strong seismic activities.

Last week, a 6.5-magnitude earthquake hit the Visayas, with the epicenter in Leyte, with no reported damage in Bacolod.

Vargas said the downtown area is one of the problematic areas in case of strong earthquake.

“We will check their interventions in case of earthquake,” he said.

Vargas also said they have trained personnel to handle the rapid earthquake damage assessment system and all of them are ready to be deployed to make an assessment to determine if the building is dangerous for the public.

In a related development, Senator Loren Legarda on Monday called on communities affected by the earthquake last week to remain vigilant for more aftershocks and other effects of the temblor as she renewed her call for strengthened earthquake preparedness measures.

Legarda said that while it is good that the government is undertaking earthquake preparedness measures through safety drills that familiarize citizens on what to do before, during and after earthquakes, ensuring the structural integrity of buildings, bridges, roads and other infrastructure is very critical and must be prioritized.

“Earthquakes do not kill people; unsafe structures do. Earthquakes turn into major disasters because of poorly built buildings in inappropriate places, inadequate design and materials specification, and shortcuts in construction. Thus, inspection during the construction of both public and private infrastructure is important. We must realize that the additional expense required for making structures safe from earthquakes is worth it especially if it would save thousands of precious lives,” the senator added.