DAVAO CITY — A total of 268 school and national government buildings were partially destroyed by the magnitude 7.4 earthquake that hit Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur on December 2.
The report of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Davao Region showed that a total of P108,497,894.84 was the estimated damage on school buildings and P1,899,365.60 on national government buildings.
Engr. Alexander Turingan of DPWH XI Quality Assurance and Hydrology Division said the damages would range from cracks on the wall and falling debris like ceilings.
“There were no reported damages in Davao Occidental and Davao del Sur,” he said.
Franz Irag, Office of Civil Defense (OCD) XI operations head, said they are more focused on the damages to school buildings that were devastated in the towns of Magsaysay, Matanao, and Digos City in the series of earthquakes in 2019.
“These buildings are areas of concern because they also serve as evacuation centers when bigger calamities happen,” he said.
Irag said that during the 2019 earthquakes, residents in those towns had nowhere to go since the school buildings were totally wrecked, adding that the evacuation centers set by the government were still under construction at that time.
He added that the volume of people can be accommodated in these schools as temporary shelter in worse situations.
Dean Ortiz, spokesperson of the DPWH XI, said the agency is concentrating on the national roads and bridges, clarifying that they will respond to requests to inspect private and government buildings.
He said that the recent earthquakes, particularly in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, did not affect any government buildings in Davao Region.
Ortiz said many of the defects are non-structural, like cracks in the wall and falling ceilings.
“We are conscious of signs like tilting buildings and cracks on the beams and columns, which mean the buildings can no longer carry the load capacity for them to slant. However, it did not manifest in the Davao region,” he said.
He stressed that DPWH conducts sampling of soil and construction materials once they see a defect in the building, like misaligned structures.
He said sampling is important to ensure that the construction materials that will be replaced can withstand future earthquakes.
Meanwhile, Architect Kashagar Toghyani, officer-in-charge of the Office City Building Official (OCBO) of Davao City, called on private owners of buildings to immediately call their professional engineers to make an assessment of the building’s structural integrity, especially if the building houses more than 10 individuals.
He said it is a must that the house engineer would report immediately to the OCBO in order that assistance can be immediately given to them.
Toghyani said the assessment must include a fire inspection since earthquakes are associated with fire incidents, emphasizing that building owners must show transparency, especially to the occupiers of the building, to guarantee their safety. PIA DAVAO