BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved a resolution urging all private and public offices, building owners of hotels and dormitories, schools, malls, and other high rise and large buildings to conduct and earthquake risk audit and ensure their retrofitting in compliance with the revised national building code.
The resolution authored by Vice Mayor Edison R. Bilog states the local government should take the lead in aggressively promoting structural soundness and resilience of buildings and structures in the city to minimize, if not prevent, damages to persons and properties in the event of the occurrence of natural disasters, like earthquakes.
The resolution noted that Baguio city is known to sit on at least 7 faultlines and is even listed as one of the most risk-prone risk cities in Asia.
It will be recalled that on July 16, 1990, an intensity 7.9 earthquake struck northern and central Philippines although the quake’s epicentre was recorded in Nueva Ecija, the biggest devastation was suffered by Baguio City where buildings and hotels crumbled to the ground causing the death of over 1,000 individuals and inflicting injuries to a similar number of residents.
Further, the Philippines falls under the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire or areas and islands in the Pacific prone to calamities such as volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and earthquakes, among other natural disasters.
The resolution noted the revised National Building Code of the Philippines and its implementing rules and regulations provide a framework of minimum standards and requirements to regulate and control the location, site, design, quality of materials, construction, use, occupancy, and maintenance of buildings and structures for them to withstand the occurrence of natural disasters.
According to the code, all structures and buildings in compliance with the requirements must be able to withstand a magnitude 8 temblor on the Richter scale to ensure the safety of life and limb.
The resolution stipulated that the City Buildings and Architecture Office (CBAO) shall assist in the conduct of the earthquake risk audit with its pool of expertise in the said government office which is also in charge of implementing and monitoring the compliance of building owners to the pertinent provisions of the revised National Building Code.
The resolution stated that from the start, the local government’s technical personnel, in coordination with the technical teams of private contractors of buildings being built in the different parts of the city, should closely work together to ensure structures that are built and will be built in the different parts of the city will be safe from natural calamities to guarantee the safety of life and limb.
The resolution explained one of the measures to ensure the compliance of existing buildings to the pertinent provisions of the revised code is the conduct of an earthquake risk assessment to test the structural integrity of the structures so that owners could institute the appropriate retrofitting measures once their buildings are found not to be structurally sound.
By Dexter A. See