Mayor Sara warns property developers to heed advice of city engineer’s office

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 31 Oct) – Mayor Sara Duterte told real estate developers here to religiously follow the recommendations of the City Engineer’s Office when erecting new buildings after a five-story building of the Ecoland 4000 Residences of property developer DMC Urban Property Developers Inc. (DMC-UPDI) was severely damaged after a magnitude 6.5 earthquake jolted parts of Mindanao Thursday morning.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte gives updates on the damage and ongoing search and rescue efforts for the damaged Ecoland 4000 Residences building. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

“We advised them to heed the recommendations of the City Engineer’s Office,” she told reporters in a press conference.

Duterte said the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office will soon release a list of buildings that are subject for condemnation after sustaining major cracks, posing danger to the lives of the occupants.

She said the local government had already advised the building administrator of Ecoland 4000 Residences’ Himeji Building, the first of the two-tower condominium, last Wednesday about the notice of condemnation as the building might be unsafe for habitation.

She urged owners of all buildings in the city to check the structural integrity of their properties following the strong earthquake.

At least nine occupants of the Himeji Building, situated along the Eco West Drive, sustained minor injuries during the 9:11 a.m. quake, which occurred only two days after the magnitude 6.6 earthquake.

Duterte told reporters in a press briefing outside the damaged building that eight occupants were treated by the responders on-site while one of those injured was brought to the hospital.

The Himeji Building of Ecoland 4000 Residences in Davao City heavily damaged by the magnitude 6.5 earthquake Thursday morning (31 October 2019). MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

She said the City Engineer’s Office had already advised the building administrator of the DMCI Homes on Wednesday to subject it already for condemnation as it had sustained major cracks after the destructive earthquake last October 29.

Duterte said she was informed by the building administrator of Ecoland 4000 Residences Thursday morning that of the 56 units, 15 to 20 units remained occupied after residents were forcibly evacuated since Tuesday.

The mayor said the assessment team has yet to ascertain if all of them were present when the strong earthquake struck. But the building administrator informed her that some renters asked that they be allowed to stay since they have no other place stay.

The search and rescue team conducting an inspection, she said, was assisted by K-9 dogs to help find possible survivors trapped amidst the rubble.

As of 2:24 p.m., disaster volunteer group Knight Hawk offered to help its services to the city’s search and rescue team to determine the possibility of any survivors still trapped.

Duterte said she will have to discuss with the City Legal Office on what action to take if proven that the building owner neglected to heed the recommendation to condemn the damaged condominium.

She said the serving of notice of condemnation should have prevented the occupants from returning to their units. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)