Gov’t buildings, infra in GenSan remain safe after Thursday quake – official

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 22 January) — The 7.1-magnitude earthquake that rocked several parts of Mindanao on Thursday evening caused no significant damages to government structures in the city, an official said.

QUAKE DAMAGE. A strong morning temblor rips a cladding structure at the façade of SM City mall in General Santos City on 16 December 2020. The magnitude 6.2 quake with epicenter south of Sarangani Island in Davao Occidental was felt in nearby towns and provinces. No one was reported injured in the incident that came a year after a series of quakes struck Mindanao in 2019. MindaNews file photo by ROMMEL G. REBOLLIDO

Engr. Emerald Signar, acting head of the City Engineering Office, said government buildings, bridges, roads and other vital infrastructure are safe for use and occupancy.

The epicenter of the tremor was located 231 kilometers southeast of Jose Abad Santos in Davao Occidental. It registered Intensity 5 in General Santos City.

Work at city hall was suspended for half a day on Friday to allow engineers to check on the buildings, particularly the city hall, the Sangguniang Panlungsod building and the transport terminal.

Signar said they only found slight damages on the plastering and adhesive blocks of some buildings but that their overall structural integrity remain intact.

The Office of the Building Official has yet to reveal its findings on privately owned buildings.

A previously condemned multi-level building here that has become a butt of engineering anecdotes once more drew the attention of wags and cynics after the Thursday evening earthquake.

The Gillamac’s building that used to house offices and an appliance store that has been abandoned for two decades now continues to weather successive earthquakes, leaving many residents to wonder why it was condemned and deemed not fit for occupancy.

The edifice was declared unsafe by authorities following an earthquake in the early 2000s. It has remained standing and was never demolished.

Cynics made fun of new buildings and malls that have sustained cracks and minor damages by comparing them to Gillamac’s.

But Signar explained that the Gillamac’s building is a deadload, meaning it only bears its own structural weight and nothing else as it is abandoned.

He said it would have easily collapsed if it had occupants, furniture and other items. (Rommel Rebollido/MindaNews)