Saturday, September 22, 2018

Coseteng: Millions of lives at risk due QT steel rebars usage

Former Senator Nikki Coseteng shows photos of QT/TMT steel bars during Friday's Balitaan queng Bale Balita with CAMI and PPC officers. Coseteng wrote a letter to President Duterte seeking a probe in this QT/ TMT steel bars being used in high rise building and government infrastructures. (Chris Navarro)

CLARK FREEPORT -- Former Senator Anna Dominique “Nikki” Coseteng said that millions of lives are at risk because of the usage of quenched-tempered steel rebars on high-rise buildings.

Coseteng reiterated this during a meeting with officers and members of the Capampangan In Media Incorporated here recently.

The former senator said that the government refused to answer vital questions regarding the use of quenched tempered (QT) which she described as weaker compared to micro alloy rebars previously used in high-rise buildings.

QT steel rebars cannot withstand strong earthquakes particularly in Seismic Zone 4 like the Philippines, according to Coseteng.

More than 10 years ago, steel manufacturers replaced the micro alloys with the QT steel rebars without informing the government and the public including the engineers, contractors, developers among others, she said.

“Millions of lives are on the light and trillions of pesos could be lost in terms of investment and rehabilitation and cleaning up if the big one hits,” Coseteng added.

On June 27, 2018, Coseteng wrote President Rodrigo Duterte a letter regarding the issue.

She informed Duterte about a study conducted by Engineer Emilio Morales, including tests in other countries, proving that it is not safe to use QT steel bars in high-rises.

“This means that in the event of a high-intensity earthquake, such as the anticipated Big One, our high rise buildings that used these QT rebars stand a very high risk of partial or complete collapse,” Coseteng said.

Government projects under Duterte’s Build Build Build program will also be affected by the issue, according to the former official.

“This also means that under your administration’s admirable Build Build Build Program, the major, critical, infrastructure using QT rebars are in danger of collapsing as well,” told the president.

Coseteng said she sent the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and other government agencies copies of Morales’ study.

The DTI released a general statement saying that QT steel bars are safe to use in high-rises without showing a test done to assuage fears.

“Mr President, what are the DTI and the large steel manufacturers hiding?” Why can’t they produce once and for all the tests that were done as promised to prove credence to their claim,” Coseteng added.