Condo tower in Davao owned by Consunji firm unsafe, residents told to vacate

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 Jan) – The Office of the City Building Official has ordered residents of Toledo Building of the three-tower condominium development, Magallanes Residences of the Consunji family-owned DMC Urban Property Developers Inc. (DMC-UPDI), to vacate within five days after inspectors discovered major structural cracks on the beams caused by a series of earthquakes in Mindanao last year.

The eight-story Toledo Building of the Magallanes Residences of the Consunji family-owned DMC Urban Property Developers Inc. (DMC-UPDI), photographed on Monday (20 January 2020), was found to have major damage because of the series of earthquakes last year. The Davao City government ordered residents to vacate the building. MindaNews photo

In a letter dated January 17 but released to the media only Tuesday, OCBO officer-in-charge Engr. Cirinia Grace L. Catubig gave the condominium management until Wednesday to move the residents out of the eight-story Toledo building.

She said a team composed of representatives from the City Engineer’s Office, Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers, and Association of Structural Engineers of the Philippines, conducted an inspection last Friday and immediately issued the order to vacate on the same day after declaring the Toledo building unsafe due to “major structural cracks on the beams and slabs” after the magnitude 6.9 earthquake on December 15, 2019.

Citing Section 214 of the Presidential Decree 1096 or the National Building Code of the Philippines, Catubig said, “dangerous buildings are those which are herein declared as such or are structurally unsafe or not provided with safe egress, or which constitute a fire hazard, or are otherwise dangerous to human life, or which in relation to an existing use, constitute a hazard to safety or health or public welfare because of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation, obsolescence, or abandonment; or which otherwise contribute to the pollution of the site or the community to an intolerable degree.”

In a press release issued by the City Information Office, Catubig said the Toledo building was the last of the three buildings that residents had been ordered to vacate.

After the strong quake in December, she said the Toledo building was categorized under the “yellow code,” or only a specific area was cordoned off pending repair on the damaged structures.

However, Catubig said more serious damages were found on the structures during the follow-up inspection on January 17, conducted more than a month after the last major earthquake happened in December, which immediately put the building under “red code,” requiring the residents to vacate.

She said some damages will occur much later from the occurrence of a major earthquake.

“We will still give them time to correct what needs to be corrected. It will now depend on the structural engineer of Toledo on how they will work on the damages before we can allow residents to go back in their units,” Catubig said.

In November 2019, Mayor Sara Duterte issued an order to condemn the two buildings of the Palmetto Place, another project of property developer DMC-UPDI, in Barangay Maa here after they sustained major cracks on the structures following the magnitude 6.5 earthquake on Oct. 31.

The powerful quake also destroyed the five-story Himeji building at the Ecoland Residences 4000, also developed by DMC-UPDI.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte earlier this month warned the Consunji firm it may no longer be allowed to build projects if it does not attend to the concerns of the residents of the destroyed condominium property. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)