Market rehab works affects SSS Iloilo branch operations

The demolished Iloilo Central Market during the groundbreaking ceremony of its rehabilitation on September 18, 2023. (Rjay Zuriaga Castor photo)

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

The Social Security System (SSS) Iloilo Central branch has temporarily suspended its operations amid safety concerns caused by the vibrations from the pile driving works as part of the ongoing rehabilitation of the Iloilo Central Market.

“We would like to inform you that currently the building where SSS Iloilo Central Branch is located will be undergoing technical evaluation by IBC International Builders Corporation,” the branch said in an advisory.

The SSS Iloilo Central branch is located in Mapa Street while the Iloilo Central Market is at a distance of roughly 400 meters from the branch.

During the temporary closure, SSS clients can still proceed with their transactions at the other SSS branches, including:

Online Services by logging in to My.SSS Portal

SSS Iloilo – Molo Branch, 2nd Floor GT Mall Molo, MH Del Pilar St. Molo, Iloilo City

SSS Guimaras Service Office at LGF Guimaras Provincial Capitol Gym

SSS Passi Service Office at 1F Economic Enterprise Bldg. Passi Public Market

SSS Robinsons Iloilo Service Office at 3F Robinsons Place Iloilo, Cor. De Leon-Quezon St. Iloilo City

The city’s Office of the Building Official (OBO) previously maintained that the TTW building, which houses the SSS Iloilo Central branch is “structurally safe and sound” as confirmed by the establishment’s structural engineer.

In an interview with Radyo Pilipinas Iloilo, OBO head Engr. Mavi Gustilo said that based on the rebound hammer test, the concrete’s compressive strength is at 5,000 pounds per square inch (psi), which is beyond the minimum requirement of 3,500 psi.

As per OBO’s assessment, there is no major visual defect in the building except that there are “superficial” cracks observed in the Bank of Commerce’s office, which is one of the tenants of the building.

OBO reported that the vibrations felt by several employees in the building, particularly in the third and fourth floors, is caused by the ongoing installation of pile drivers at the Iloilo Central Market.

Gustilo explained that ground vibrations are among the results of pile driving activity, emphasizing that when the pile driving hammer impacts the pile head, a stress wave in the form of a vibration is released and propagates into the soil and its adjacent structures.

She said she already requested the contractor of the Iloilo Central Market’s rehabilitation to make necessary equipment adjustments to prevent further vibrations in the nearby areas.

A total of 35 buildings in the City Proper area have reported experiencing vibrations caused by the ongoing rehabilitation of the market.