MANILA, Philippines – Surigao del Sur 1st District Rep. Romeo Momo Sr. urged the Senate to discuss and pass a bill that seeks to replace the country’s current building code.
His appeal came after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake shook parts of Mindanao and caused damage to several infrastructures.
Momo said House Bill No. 8500 or the proposed Philippine Construction Law will ensure the stability and resilience of housing built in the country, especially during natural calamities like earthquakes.
The proposed law, which was approved on third reading by the House last August 9, will replace the four-decade-old National Building Code of the Philippines.
“We saw the devastation of natural calamities on our kababayans (comrades). I would hate to think that we are now immune to their sufferings because calamities are just natural occurrences for Filipinos,” the chairman of the House committee on public works and highways said in a recent statement.
“As public servants, we must now, more than ever, join forces and ensure that our fellow Filipinos are protected from harm. The power has always been in our hands. I appeal to my colleagues in Congress to pass the Philippine Construction Act bill quickly and without further delay,” Momo added.
A magnitude 6.8 tremor struck 28 kilometers southwest of Sarangani Island in Davao Occidental on November 17. Several towns near Sarangani felt the force of ground movement up to Intensity VI and Intensity VII, while several video clips shared on social media showed buildings supporting structures. damage.
In Davao City, a crane on top of a building collapsed following the tremors. Meanwhile, cracks were observed at General Santos Airport due to the earthquake.
READ: NDRRMC reports damage after 6.8 earthquake in Sarangani
The House version of the proposed Philippine Construction Act provides for updated standards on “planning, design, construction, occupancy, maintenance and demolition of buildings.” Likewise, it speeds up the process of obtaining construction permits.
The bill also creates a new building classification system and new requirements for zoning, fire prevention, environmental protection and design.
“The earthquake that hit Mindanao last Friday should already serve as a warning. I implore my colleagues to pass this bill as we are at a critical juncture in our disaster preparedness and risk management policies,” Momo said.
“We cannot afford to make mistakes or neglect our duties when lives and livelihoods are at stake,” he added.