Makati's Office of the Building Official on Thursday inspected the offices of the Metro Manila Development Authority building on EDSA and Orense Street in Barangay Guadalupe to check its structural integrity.
MMDA chairman Danilo Lim said he requested the post-earthquake assessment to ensure that the eight-story main building that houses the Metrobase, Auditorium, Institute of Traffic Management, Redemption Office and Sports Arena, and all facilities inside are safe for employees and the transacting public.
“After the earthquake on Monday, we immediately conducted our own assessment but we deemed it necessary to welcome third-party inspectors,” Lim said.
“We want to identify the structural damage we need to address to ensure that the structures are safe for use,” said Lim.
Lim, also the concurrent head of Metro Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, on Monday issued a memo directing all concerned member agencies and local disaster risk reduction and management councils to conduct inspections focusing on the structural integrity of all government structures in the National Capital Region.
Electrical rooms, server rooms and technical facilities were also inspected.
The two strong earthquakes that recently shook Luzon and the Visayas emphasize the urgency for regular building inspections, the vice president of the Association of Structural Engineers, Ronaldo Ison, said.
“We should be inspecting buildings from time to time to maintain [their] structural integrity. It is required of us to do these inspections more regularly to determine if the building is okay,” Ison told ABS-CBN News.
He said he believed most buildings in Metro Manila comply with the National Building Code and will be able to withstand a magnitude 7 or higher earthquake.
However, older buildings constructed with older materials should be checked, analyzed, and upgraded to comply with the present building code, he said.
Monday’s 6.1 magnitude quake disrupted the Climate Smart and Disaster Resilient Asean International Conference at the Bayleaf Hotel.
Conference organizer Glenn Banaguas said the quake emphasized that buildings need to be climate smart and disaster resilient to save lives.
Also on Thursday, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines urged the government to create mandatory policy standard protocols to protect workers during disasters, following complaints of workers who were not allowed to leave their establishments immediately after Monday’s earthquake.
“It is high time to set the country’s mandatory workplace emergency protocol standards for rank-and-file workers in the light of scores of employers who refused to evacuate their employees and maintained a business as usual attitude exposing their employees’ health and safety during the earthquake,” said TUCP president Raymond Mendoza.
He said there are no existing government mandatory standards that address this important aspect of workplace safety and health, particularly during emergency situations such as earthquake, fire and other disasters happening in the workplace.
“Because there are no specific mandatory guidelines regarding such a life and death scenario, there is a very urgent need to create a regulation or mandatory policy standards protocols now that protect the workers’ health and safety and guides employees and employers on what to do when emergency disasters and calamities occur during working hours,” Mendoza said. With PNA