Revamp of building code, Dep’t of Disaster Resilience pushed anew after Mindanao quakes
MANILA, Philippines — House leaders have pushed for the immediate revamp of the National Building Code and the creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience following the powerful quakes that jolted Mindanao in the past days.
READ: At least 1 dead, 43 injured after powerful Mindanao quake – NDRRMC | Magnitude 6.1 aftershock jolts N. Cotabato, nearby provinces
Speaker Alan Cayetano said it’s about time the chamber initiate a review of the country’s building standards, strictly enforce it, and place urban planning responsibility to local government units (LGUs).
“Sabihin niyo man it’s political, with a three-year term, hirap talaga ang governors and mayors na mag-planning but at least if you have a department head na regular na urban planner at may institutional memory, may mga planong in place, ‘di ba mas magiging ganap,” the Taguig-Pateros 1st district representative said in an interview in his district.
(Even you brand it as a political move, with a three-year term, governors and mayors truly have a hard time planning, but at least if you have a regular department head [in LGUs] who is an urban planner, has institutional memory, and plans in place, the implementation would be efficient.)
Deputy Speaker Michael Romero, for his part, said he would request the House committee on public works and highways to prioritize the pending bills seeking to establish new building standards, partly to reduce disaster risks, especially death and destruction when earthquakes strike.
“It is abundantly clear that poor compliance with the National Building Code is part of the systemic reason for the deaths, injuries, and widespread damage in Mindanao because of today’s magnitude 6.6 earthquake and the magnitude 6.3 earthquake last October 16,” the 1-Pacman representative in a statement.
Romero authored House Bill No. 4008 or the proposed Philippine Building Act of 2019 together with fellow 1-Pacman Rep. Enrico Pineda. The bill seeks to repeal the 1977 martial law-era Presidential Decree 1096, also known as the National Building Code.
Minority member and Agusan del Norte 1st District Rep. Lawrence Fortun meanwhile renewed his call for the immediate passage of bills creating the Department of Disaster Resilience.
“We need a department solely devoted to disaster resilience with clear and sufficient mandate, authority and resources necessary to carry out comprehensive disaster risk reduction and management programs down to the grassroots level,” said Fortun.
READ: Patients evacuated from Kidapawan hospital due to tremor
In his third State of the Nation Address on July 23, 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte urged Congress to pass a bill creating the said department to “bolster our resilience to the impact of natural disasters and climate change.”
The House passed its own version of the measure during the 17th Congress while the Senate failed to pass its counterpart bill.
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