Congress to prioritize review of National Building Code in next session

Marje Pelayo   •   October 31, 2019   •   710

MANILA, Philippines – The proposed Philippine Building Code of 2019 or House Bill 4008 is currently stalled at the House of Representatives (HOR).

The bill seeks to repeal Presidential Decree 1046 or the country’s National Building Code specifically to set new standards in building construction with more emphasis on resiliency against calamities such as earthquake.

The proposal was prompted by the series of earthquakes that hit several areas in the country, with the most recent happening in Mindanao.

According to House Deputy Speaker At 1 Pacman Representative Mikee Romero, one of the major causes of death and damage to properties in Mindanao in the recent tremor was due to violation of the National Building Code.

“It is abundantly clear that poor compliance with the National Building Code is part of the systemic reason for the deaths, injuries, and widespread damage in Mindanao because of today’s magnitude 6.6 earthquake and the magnitude 6.3 earthquake last October 16,” he said in a statement.

He argued that it is high time to amend the law which is now considered very old dating back its establishment to year 1977.

In Romero’s version, contractors of the building project will have to follow every detail of the agreement plan.

Any violation of the agreed contract of design and standards will have its corresponding penalty and criminal liability.

Such provision is to ensure the structural credibility of the building and the safety of its occupants.

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano agrees to Romero that the 1977 National Building Code indeed needs review.

“I think it’s about time that we take three drastic steps. Number one, to review the National Building Code. Number two, to make sure that the body implementing it is separate from the body who is monitoring it,” Cayetano said.

“Iyong magbibigay ng permit, pagtingin ng plano mo at plano mo compliant, iba dapat yung nag-i-inspect (The person who issues the permit should be different from the one who inspects your plan to make sure the structure is compliant),” he added.

The Lower House assures to prioritize deliberation on the proposed measure when the session opens on November 4. – MNP (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

Patients stay in gym after magnitude 5.9 earthquake damages hospital in Bukidnon

Marje Pelayo   •   November 22, 2019

BUKIDNON, Philippines — Around 20 patients of Simbulan Hospital remain in a gymnasium in the municipality of Don Carlos because cracks from Monday’s (November 18) magnitude 5.9 earthquake has posed threats to their safety.

According to Councilor Keith Anthony Kotico, the gymnasium is the safest for the patients based on the structural assessment of the local government unit (LGU).

“Prior to evacuation, this has already been pointed as an evacuation area it was already assessed,” Kotico said.

Patients were ill at ease due to fear that the hospital walls might collapse at any moment.

“Kasi gumagalaw na talaga ang dingding (The walls were moving ),” observed Boy Palingcod whose sibling is a patient at Simbulan Hospital.

The Bukidnon Provincial Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) is doing rounds in other areas hit by the earthquake to assess the damages.

Personnel from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Likewise, join the assessment to address the needs of the affected residents. MNP (with details from Weng Fernandez)

Int’l language center in Malaysia to raise funds for earthquake victims in Mindanao

Marje Pelayo   •   November 20, 2019

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – An international language training institution based in Kuala Lumpur is launching a fundraising program for earthquake victims in Mindanao.

Royce Language Center’s Principal Sitinor Khajar Binti Nordin said the collected amount will be donated to families affected by the series of temblor that damaged several houses and structures in the region.

The school official said they have actually received applications from students who are locals of Mindanao and among those badly hit by the disaster.

“We would like to help any number of schools as our priority. Being a language school in Malaysia, we do understand the value of education,” Nordin said.

The principal said they wanted to extend assistance to affected school and students in Mindanao as a way to help them recover from the tragedy.

The RLC is planning to make the fundraising a regular event after its success.

“We have never done that before. This is going to be our first experience,” Nordin said.

“We are looking forward to it and if it goes well, we may make fund-raising one of our usual activities,” she added. – MNP (with reports from Maya Barquez)

Hero dog in Porac supermarket rescue passes away

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 14, 2019

Dog hero Farah, one of the rescue dogs that helped in the Porac supermarket rescue operation, passed away on Monday (November 12).

In a Facebook post, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) K-9 Corps announced his passing and said that they are grateful for the service given by Farah.

“Farah demonstrated obedience and willingness to work under the intense stress and pressure of deployment,” according to the post.

READ: Phivolcs explains why Pampanga was hit hardest by Luzon quake

During the 6.1 magnitude earthquake that struck Luzon, Farah was among the rescue dogs who aided the operation after Porac supermarket in Pampanga collapsed.

The other rescue dogs include K9 Billy, K9 Chaplin, K9 Cody, K9 Chia, K9 Dumbo, K9 Thunder, K9 Ringo and K9 Lucy.—AAC

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