ILOILO City – Two relatively new two-storey school buildings of the Iloilo City National High School in Molo district were found to have structural defects.
The City Engineer’s Office (CEO) recommended that these be vacated.
“We have already given the instruction to the principal. The buildings must be temporarily vacated until the structural issues are resolved,” said Engineer Cloyd Grecia, CEO structural engineer.
Among others, the CEO found defects on the flooring.
“Let us not wait nga ma-failure pa sya before mag-recommend nga i-vacate,” said Grecia.
The CEO recommended an immediate repair.
Each of the two two-storey school buildings, constructed only in 2015, has six rooms.
Recent earthquakes in Mindanao prompted the CEO to inspect buildings here, including government-owned infrastructures and facilities.
The City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and Bureau of Fire Protection joined the inspections which started on Nov. 7.
The first to be inspected was the seven-storey city hall. “Minor cracks located on non-structural members” were found.
“We stopped there. We no longer have to proceed with the strength evaluation because we have not seen damage to structural integrity,” said Grecia.
The non-structural component includes ceilings, windows, doors, and partitions, among others.
“We have not seen major defects or damage. What we saw were minor, superficial cracks that were not significant to the structural integrity of the building,” said Grecia.
The city hall was designed to withstand intensity 8 earthquakes. It has already experienced three earthquakes and typhoons.
“Occupants and visitors need not worry,” said Grecia.
Also inspected were Fort San Pedro National High School, Jaro National High School, Mandurriao National High School, A. Mirasol Memorial Elementary School, La Paz National High School, Jalandoni National High School, and Ramon Avanceña National High School.
On Oct. 31, President Rodrigo Duterte directed local government units to conduct an immediate inspection of buildings within their respective jurisdictions.
“Well, it is time for the LGUs to inspect all buildings. Umpisahan na nila ngayon (They should start now),” the President said.
His order came after another deadly quake jolted some areas in Mindanao on the morning of Oct. 31, the second in that week and the third last month.
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar called on Congress to amend Republic Act (RA) 6541 or the National Building Code of the Philippines, saying the current framework of the “outdated” law was “very lax”.
The scope of RA 6541 includes “location, siting, design, quality of materials, construction, use, occupancy, and maintenance” of both private and public buildings.
“Let us not wait for a disaster to happen before we become strict in granting building permits,” Andanar said./PN