MANILA -- The government on Saturday made another pitch to strengthen the structural integrity of buildings in the Philippines in the wake of strong earthquakes that jolted neighboring countries recently.

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje failed to pinpoint the necessary changes to the present Building Code although these must address public concern on the impacts of geological hazards on residential houses and buildings.

He also directed the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) to work for the full integration of Engineering Geological and Geohazard Assessment Report (Eggar) into the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) System required under Presidential Decree No. 1586.

Following the deadly Cherry Hills landslide in August 1999, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued Administrative Order No. 2000-28, to address the possible effects or impacts of geological hazards on people’s lives and properties.

It contains the implementing guidelines on engineering geological and geohazard assessment as additional requirement for ECC (environment compliance certificate) applications covering subdivision, housing, and other land development and infrastructure projects.

This time, Paje stressed, Eggar shall be considered a basic requirement especially for development projects located in areas prone to landslides and flooding, and those near fault lines and volcanoes. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)