Oro buildings ready for earthquakes

BUILDINGS in Cagayan de Oro City have been assured to be disaster-ready especially during earthquake, the Office of the Building Official (OBO) said Friday.

Maria Concepcion Alcantara, officer-in-charge of OBO, said though that they haven't reached 100 percent of evaluating the buildings that owners applied for inspection.

“These are disaster-ready, earthquake ready provided the earthquake doesn’t reach intensity 9,” Alcantara said.

Alcantara said that most high-rise buildings in the city where there is usually a crowd like malls passed the OBO’s inspection and granted with permits to build.

"When we issue a permit that means only one word – safe," Alcantara said, adding that before an establishment obtains a permit, "Muagi gyud na sila sa butas ng karayom, mo-reklamo gani nang uban kay dugay daw kaayo, but we have to."

Structural officers at OBO will check the building foundation, beams, floorings, and the overall superstructure of the establishment, she said.

Terrence Agusan, structural officer, clarified that buildings in the city cannot withstand earthquakes with strength beyond intensity 9.

Alcantara said the National Building Code of the Philippines (Republic Act 6541) stipulates that any person, firm, or corporation, including any department, office, bureau, agency of instrumentality of the government intending to construct, alter, repair, move, convert or demolish any building or structure, or cause the same to be done, shall obtain a building permit from the Building Official for whichever of such work is proposed to be undertaken for the building or structure, before any such work is started.

But of the 430 building applications received by OBO as of April to June, there are 147 buildings that have been constructed without building permits, 64 started their construction without permits while 219 buildings are waiting for the permits.

"Daghan man gyud dili ga-follow, magbuot sila, we try to discipline them, pero dili man gyud maminaw, so beyond our control na pud ang uban," Alcantara said.

To aid the dilemma, the office is collecting penalties for those who break the law. "Muabot ug 5 to 10,000 ang atong sanctions for them."

"We are doing everything in our capacity to always put public safety first," Alcantara said.

Meanwhile, the Cagayan de Oro City Fire Department also confirmed that it is inspecting establishments in the city.

Shirley Teleron, district fire marshal, said they are doing all measures to protect the public from disasters, specifically possible major quakes.

An order from the central office was forwarded to every fire department in the country, intensifying inspections for building structures.

Teleron said: "Gibuhat gyud namo karon tanan, ga-inspect mi every now and then."

As for quake readiness, Teleron said they are focusing on the presence of fire exits in every building especially the high-rise ones.

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