Senator Go to propose amendments to aging Building Code

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 1 Nov) – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go will propose amendments to the four-decade-old National Building Code of the Philippines after a destructive magnitude 6.5 earthquake that struck parts of Mindanao on Thursday damaged several infrastructures in Mindanao.

Sen. Bong Go being interviewed by reporters outside the Ecoland 4000 Residences on Thursday (31 October 2019), hours after the first two floors of its Himeji Building collapsed following the magnitude 6.5 earthquake. MindaNews photo by ANTONIO L. COLINA IV

Go said he would initiate a review on Presidential Decree (PD) 1096, issued by the late ousted President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. on February 19, 1976, as an amendment to Republic Act 6541, which was passed in 1972.

He said he wants stricter fines to be levied against property developers with substandard housing projects that are endangering the lives of the occupants.

“It’s high time to review the Building Code. Let’s make it stricter, let’s not wait until another building collapses,” he said.

Go said the five-story Himeji Building of the Ecoland 4000 Residences, a project of property developer DMC Urban Property Developers Inc. (DMC-UPDI), apparently could not withstand a stronger earthquake as it had a very weak foundation—its first two floors collapsed.

“That condominium, the posts on the basement parking are so thin. How can they carry the upper four floors?” he said.

The Code is supposed to provide “for all buildings and structures, a framework of minimum standards and requirements to regulate and control their location, site, design quality of materials, construction, use, occupancy, and maintenance.”

According to Philippine Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), intensity 7 was felt in Tulunan and Kidapawan City in North Cotabato, and municipalities of Sta. Cruz, Matanao, Bansalan and Magsaysay in Davao del Sur; intensity 6 in Tampakan in South Cotabato; intensity 5 in General Santos City, Tupi in South Cotabato; Isulan in Sultan Kudarat; and intensity 4 in Lebak and Sultan Kudarat.

According to Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), the quake was felt as Intensity VI in Davao City. It was at Intensity VII in areas close to the epicenter (pegged at the location 06.92°N, 125.06°E by the PHIVOLCS, or somewhere in Makilala, North Cotabato)—Makilala and Tulunan, North Cotabato; Kidapawan City; Matanao, Bansalan, Magsaysay and Santa Cruz in Davao Del Sur; and Digos City.

Last Thursday’s earthquake was the third major tremor in two weeks, with epicenters all in North Cotabato.

Meanwhile, DMCI Homes issued a statement stressing that the Ecoland 4000 Residences is not their project.

“The company was not involved in the development, design, and construction of the said project,” DMCI Homes said in the statement emailed to media organizations, adding that the only project they have in Davao City is Verdon Parc.

It said in another statement issued today that its structural engineering consultant, Macro Consulting, certified that the four buildings of Verdon Parc are “structurally safe and sound structures and are likewise classified and declared safe for dwelling.”

DMCI admitted there were “damages and cracks” found but are “considered non-structural in nature and therefore can be rectified.”

It said that there were no reported injuries among residents of Verdon Parc and everyone is accounted for. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)