UE engineering prof turns quake into teaching moment
MANILA, Philippines — While several schools and universities in Metro Manila suspended classes on Tuesday after a 6.1-magnitude earthquake shook parts of Luzon, it was a normal day on the University of the East (UE) campus in Caloocan City.
For 20 senior civil engineering students, it was the perfect time to apply what had been taught to them in the classroom.
Led by their professor, Ed Leron Jr., they inspected the structural safety of buildings on the campus — a task they would be performing once they become certified engineers.
“Time to fulfill our duties and responsibilities,” said Leron, who has been teaching structural theory.
He told the Inquirer that his class found minor cracks in the walls and columns of the eight-story high school building.
Leron, however, said plaster cracks were normal after an earthquake, adding that the building remained safe.
The engineering professor has been tasked by the dean with conducting an inspection since he recently attended a disaster mitigation, preparedness and response program.
A taste of the future
Leron said his students were very excited after getting a taste of their future as civil engineers.
Caloocan action officer Alex Nadurata said that so far, they had not received reports of structural damage to any building in the city.
“In 188 barangays in Caloocan, there is no reported damage,” Nadurata told the Inquirer.
“The Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council immediately tasked structural engineers with inspecting critical facilities like government [offices], and schools,” he said.
Caloocan City Medical Center and city hall showed only minor cracks. Old churches like San Roque Cathedral and Sto. Niño Parish Church showed no effects of the quake.
“The city government is confident about the structural integrity of this building,” Nadurata said, referring to the new city hall that was built to withstand a magnitude 7-earthquake.
According to him, Dagat Dagatan Avenue is the “most vulnerable according to the hazard assessment [of the city] because it is a reclaimed area. Its foundation is soft soil; it was previously a fishing area.”
Nadurata also reminded residents that in case “the Big One” should strike, they should save themselves first.
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