LGUs given 90 days to assess safety of buildings

THE Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) gave local government units (LGUs) 90 days beginning February 26 to assess the safety and structural integrity of buildings in their areas of jurisdiction as part of preparations for major earthquakes.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said LGUs should submit assessment reports after the 90 days, which will identify the buildings that need retrofitting to be conducted by the Department of Public Works and Highways.

Año warned local government executives that they would be charged administratively and criminally should they fail to follow the order, which could lead to their removal from the office.

"This is more requiring the fast track of assessment," Año said.

The DILG, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the DPWH signed on Wednesday in Camp Crame the Joint Memorandum Circular no. 2019-01 which mandates the measures on disaster resilience.

For his part, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said he has ordered surprise inspections on the sellers, suppliers, and manufacturers of construction materials to ensure that prices of their goods are controlled and within the suggested retail price.

Lopez said they also tapped the Philippine National Police (PNP) to trace the source of the substandard materials and the location of the warehouses which may end up in the market that may cause harm to those who would purchase it and use it for their houses.

He said businesses who would failto comply would lead to revocation of permits to operate and imprisonment.

"We are working on safeguarding we need the support of supplies and manufacturers of construction materials," Lopez said.

According to DPWH Secretary Mark Villar, a total of 5,980 buildings are under risk assessment in areas in Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon (CALABARZON) and Central Luzon that are vulnerable to a magnitude 7.5 earthquake.

He said 23 retrofitting projects were being implemented in Metro Manila.

Villar said he tasked all district engineers to provide technical assistance to ensure compliance with the National Building Code. (SunStar Philippines)


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