Congress to prioritize review of National Building Code in next session

Marje Pelayo   •   October 31, 2019   •   1324

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)

9 dead in Turkey after earthquake hits Iran border area

UNTV News   •   February 24, 2020

BASKALE, TURKEY (FEBRUARY 23, 2020)DAMAGED HOMES

Nine people died and hundreds of buildings collapsed in southeastern Turkey on Sunday (February 23) after a magnitude-5.7 earthquake struck near the border with Iran, injuring dozens in villages and towns in both countries, government officials said.

Three of those killed were children and 37 Turks were injured, including nine critically, Turkey’s health ministry said.

The shallow tremor caused more than 1,000 buildings to collapse in Turkey, prompting a brief rescue effort to find those trapped under rubble.

The quake damaged buildings some 90 km (56 miles) to the west in the Turkish city of Van, and to the east in dozens of villages in Iran, where state TV said 75 people were injured including six in hospital, though there were no fatalities.

Crisscrossed by major fault lines, Iran and Turkey are among the most earthquake-prone countries in the world.—Yesim Dikmen via Reuters Connect

Magnitude 5.4 quake rattles Davao Occidental

Robie de Guzman   •   February 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A magnitude 5.4 earthquake rattled parts of Davao Occidental on Thursday afternoon, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reported.

In its bulletin, Phivolcs said the epicenter of the quake that struck around 5:54 p.m. was traced 35 kilometers southeast of Jose Abad Santos in Davao Occidental.

It had a depth of 190 kilometers and tectonic in origin.

The tremor was felt at intensity III in General Santos City, Tupi and Polomolok in South Cotabato, and Alabel, Saranggani; intensity II in Maasin and Malapatan, Sarangani, and Davao City, while intensity I was felt in Tampakan, South Cotabato.

Phivolcs said there was no reported damage but aftershocks should be expected.

Danger remains as volcanic activities increase in Taal

Marje Pelayo   •   January 20, 2020

Aerial photos Taal Volcano eruption aftermath epa08135676 Handout aerial photo provided by the Office of Civil Defense shows the Taal Volcano crater in Batangas province, south of Manila, Philippines, 17 January 2020. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) has kept the alert level at four, following the volcano’s eruption on 12 January 2020. EPA-EFE/OFFICE OF CIVIL DEFENSE HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

MANILA, Philippines – Over a week since Taal Volcano began its eruptive activity, danger still remains according to experts.

In fact, a total of 787 earthquakes have been recorded in the volcano island on Saturday (January 18) alone, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).

This frequency of ground shaking is double the number of all volcanic earthquakes recorded in the previous six days of Taal’s volcanic activity.

Over the weekend, more than 200 tremors were recorded within the range of magnitude 1.2 and 4.1, the PHIVOLCS said and on Sunday evening (January 19), the strongest shaking – magnitude 4.2 earthquake – was felt in Mabini, Batangas.

The volcano institute have also observed that Taal is producing about one-kilometer high white ash pillar and sulfur dioxide of around 1,442 tons each day.

Because of these observations, PHIVOLCS cannot just lift or downgrade Alert Level 4 that is currently in effect around the volcano island because the possibility of a massive explosive eruption remains high within hours or days.

Thus, PHIVOLCS strongly appeals for understanding and more patience from residents and reminds them not to return yet to their villages especially those within the 14-km danger zone.

Volcanic earthquakes recorded in Taal:

  • January 19 – 787
  • January 18 – 366
  • January 17 – 65
  • January 16 – 103
  • January 15 – 159
  • January 14 – 49
  • January 13 – 52

Source: PHIVOLCS

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