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Reopening of malls in quake-hit Digos ushers in normalcy after 6.3 magnitude tremor

/ 08:01 PM October 21, 2019

DIGOS CITY—Two of nine shopping malls and department stores forced to close after the 6.3 magnitude quake last Oct. 16 are gearing up to reopen as soon as this week after repairs on what engineers said were minor damage suffered from the quake.

Wallace Lestano, structural engineer who helped design Gaisano Mall, said damage to the four-story mall building was minor and did not compromise its structural integrity. Damaged portions are easily repairable and could be finished in just days, he said.

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Lestano said repairs could be finished in two weeks “or less.”

Gaisano Center, a subsidiary of GMall, would be partially reopened in two or three days, said the engineer.

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Part of the second floor of Gaisano Center, however, would remain closed for “some major repairs,” said Lestano. This was the part rented out to the government.

Lestano and another engineer, Daniel Quilicot, sought a meeting with Mayor Josef Cagas to report the progress of rehabilitation and repair work on the malls. Cagas said he welcomed the news of the malls’ reopening.

He said he didn’t want people in the city “to go to other places for their shopping needs.”

The mayor, however, said “the safety of the people should come first.” He said owners or managers of malls and commercial establishments must have their premises checked by a team of experts in the city for structural integrity and secure occupancy clearances./TSB

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TAGS: Digos City, engineers, Gaisano, malls, Quake, repair, structural integrity
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