CEBU

Tell It to SunStar: Mindanao earthquake: A wake-up call

By Jake Flourence Camasura, Argao, Cebu.

ASTONISHING destruction struck the Land of Promise, Mindanao, because of the tectonic earthquake that shook the area recently. What made it more destructive was the series of strong aftershocks that rattled the place. People died.

Infrastructure fell because of the scourging waves of the quake, stopping some of the government processes in the area in terms of serving the public. Region XI and XII have a total of 1,699 infrastructure pieces damaged, including totally damaged business establishments, health facilities, public structures, houses and places of worship as recorded by the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) as of Oct. 19. The number is still increasing due to the series of strong aftershocks.

For these situations, it is time for the government to amend or revise the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Republic Act (RA) 6541 or the act to ordain and institute a National Building Code of the Philippines.

The law is too loose to strictly ensure safeguard and protection of the occupants of any building. Some establishments, public or private, even did their way in building and occupying the infrastructure without securing the Certificate of Occupancy (COO)

Section 1.01.2 clause (a) under the Declaration of Policy, provides that it is hereby declared to be the policy of the State to safeguard life, health, property, and public welfare, consistent with the principles of environmental management and control.

It is ironic that government structures topped in the increasing number of severely damaged infrastructure. Section 1.01.09 clause (b) provides that tests for design, materials, method of construction, or workmanship shall be prescribed by the Secretary of Public Works and Communication in appropriate rules and regulations thereof.

In Barangay Daig, Tulunan, Cotabato at least 90 percent of the structures had collapsed in the quakes and several more covered courts and government health centers across the town were damaged. We hope that the materials used in these structures were not substandard.

Behind those loose and toothless rules or codes enacted, there were people who are at risk, suffering or dying. Ordinances, codes, rules or any other legal orders were made for the public welfare and for their best of interest. We’re not blaming the law on what is happening in Mindanao, but we hope that what happened in Mindanao should not only serve as a lesson for us, but also to encourage us to help, unite and be ready to experience any unexpected conflicts or disasters that might test our abilities in facing the consequences.


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