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‘IT Park buildings can withstand 9.0 quake’

By: - Senior Reporter / @agarciayapCDN
/ 01:05 PM October 23, 2013

Many call center agents ran out of their high-rise towers when the Oct. 15 earthquake struck.

However, most of the buildings in the Cebu I.T. Park can withstand powerful earthquakes stronger than the 7.2-magnitude quake, said a property developer.

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“Most of the new buildings like those within the Cebu I.T. Park are built and designed to be quake-resistant. The minimum requirement is magnitude 9.0-resistant,” said Cebu Landmasters Inc. president Joe Soberano, who is also president of the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Association.

Property owners in Cebu IT Park had their buildings inspected immediately after the Oct. 15 killer temblor struck Central Visayas. They were certified sound and stable.

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Cebu Daily News sought Soberano’s comment on the issue to allay fears of thousands of workers in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry whose offices are located in medium to high-rise buildings at the park.

A 23-year-old call center agent who requested anonymity said some of his co-workers were traumatized by the earthquake and succeeding aftershocks.

He said some went home to their provinces.

He said those who returned to work had trouble concentrating due to the aftershocks.

“I just paused for a moment, and turned my head to see if everything is fine, and when the (customer from the US) asked me why it took me so long to answer I would just say ’I’m still processing’,” he said.

“After the first earthquake, our building was immediately inspected by engineers and it was declared safe,” he said.

He said their supervisors gave them some considerations during work, like allowing them to keep their cell phones beside them.

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“When there is a strong aftershock, the lights immediately turn off but the lights turn back on after a minute because we have a generator,” he added.

There are 16 mid- to high-rise structures within the Ayala Group development which includes Ayala properties eBloc1 and 2; The Walk, and the eOffice; Skyrise 1, 2, 3 and 4; i1, i2 and i3; TGU, Calyx and The Link, the Globe Telecom building and Asia Premier.

Jeanette Japzon, Cebu Holdings Inc. corporate communications manager, said structural engineers from Sy2 Associates, Inc. issued a certification that all their buildings are stable and safe.

She said designs and plans of the buildings within Cebu IT Park were checked by Ayala before they were built and follows a certain standard.

“Cebu IT Park is a controlled development so we trust that all developments there really follow the standards set by the property developer and we all know that Ayala really follows above industry standards,” she said.

Third party

Soberano said the standard protocol is to have in-house engineers check the building and then have third party experts examine them for verification.

In Cebu, Soberano said developers consult Engr. Pericles “Ricky” Dakay and Engr. Ariel dela Cruz, who is also a consultant of Cebu City Hall, as well as consultants from Manila like Sy2 Associates, Inc.

Japzon said their eBloc1 and eBloc2 buildings are currently occupied by outsourcing companies like Accenture, NCR and JP Morgan Chase.

Innoland Development Corp., which developed the TGU, Calyx and The Link buildings, also tapped the same consultant as the Ayala Group.

Senior Property Manager Jay G. Zozobrado of Innoprime Property Services, Inc. said they did a usability check on all their properties.

He said a more thorough reliability check will be done by Sy2 Associates, Inc. next week.

“They issued the certificate after the usability check. They found that our buildings did not sustain any structurally alarming damage,” Zozobrado said. With Correspondent Michelle Joy L. Padayhag

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TAGS: Cebu, Cebu IT Park, Earthquake, high-rise towers, News
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