Are Bacolod buildings quake proof?

(Inset) City DRRMO –OIC Dondon Parandas

BACOLOD City – Bacolod City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO) officer-in-charge Dondon Parandas said they will check buildings here following the series of strong earthquakes last month.

Parandas said the inspections will be made after the 2019-midterm elections and they will focus on assessing the structural integrity of the buildings.

Parandas said that after the 6.5-magnitude earthquake in Eastern Samar last month, some of the old buildings in the city may have been damaged even though the tremor experienced here was considered minor.

Personnel from the City Engineer’s Office, and the Office of the Building Official will conduct the check.

Parandas also stressed the importance of taking earthquake drills more seriously.

He explained that under a local ordinance, all establishments must conduct an earthquake drill at least twice a year.

The CDRRMO recommends conducting more than two drills annually, pointing out that from time to time, establishment owners tend to change the inner layouts of their structures.

Parandas said establishment owners should update their evacuation plans every time they change their room layouts.

He also recommended the hiring of at least one safety officer for big companies operating in the city, who will oversee the safety of the establishment’s occupants.

Citing the CDRRMO’s findings in 2017, disaster cluster head Executive Assistant Joemarie Vargas, estimated that around 30 percent of the buildings in the city’s downtown area would collapse in the event of a strong earthquake.

Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) director and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Undersecretary Renato Solidum last year recommended to all local government units in Negros to prepare for the possibility of earthquakes due to the discovery of new fault lines on the island.

Solidum also stressed the importance of earthquake retrofitting and building earthquake-resistant structures.