Senate pressed to pass new building code bill
MANILA, Philippines — Surigao del Sur 1st District Rep. Romeo Momo Sr. has urged the Senate to discuss and approve a bill that seeks to replace the country’s prevailing building code.
His appeal came after a magnitude 6.8 earthquake rocked parts of Mindanao and caused damage to several infrastructure.
Momo said House Bill No. 8500, or the proposed Philippine Building Act, will ensure the stability and resilience of the country’s constructed dwellings, especially during natural calamities like earthquakes.
The proposed law, approved on third reading by the House last August 9, will replace the four-decades-old National Building Code of the Philippines.
“We have seen the devastation of natural calamities on our kababayans (fellowmen). I would hate to think that we are now immune to their sufferings because calamities are but natural occurrences to Filipinos,” the chairman of the House committee on public works and highways said in a recent statement.
“As public servants, we must now more than ever join forces and ensure our fellow Filipinos are kept from harm. The power has always been in our hands. I call on my colleagues in Congress to pass the Philippine Building Act bill swiftly and without further ado,” Momo added.
A 6.8-magnitude temblor struck 28 kilometers southwest of Sarangani Island in Davao Occidental on November 17. Several towns near Sarangani felt the strength of the ground movement up to Intensity VI and Intensity VII, while several video clips shared on social media showed buildings sustaining structural damage.
In Davao City, a crane on top of a building fell following the tremors. Meanwhile, hairline cracks were observed at the General Santos Airport due to the quake.
The House’s version of the proposed Philippine Building Act provides for updated standards on the “planning, design, construction, occupancy, maintenance, and demolition of buildings.” It likewise streamlines the process of obtaining building permits.
The bill also creates a new system of classification of buildings and new requirements for zoning, fire prevention, environment protection, and design.
“The earthquake that hit Mindanao last Friday should already serve as a wake-up call. I implore my colleagues to pass this bill while we’re at a critical juncture of our disaster preparedness and risk management policies,” Momo said.
“We cannot afford to make mistakes or neglect our duties when lives and livelihoods are at stake,” he added.