Solon advocates localized building code update for more disaster-resistant structures

THE port of LIPATA in the city of Surigao was one of the public structures heavily damaged by Typhoon Odette. – NAVY PHILIPPINE

LOCAL government units should be allowed to issue updated versions of the National Building Code to pave the way for planning and building structures that are more resistant to natural events such as typhoons.

“(U) updating this (National Building Code) has been quite difficult in both houses of Congress. Even with a qualified majority, it’s quite difficult because the families of lawmakers are in the construction business, ”Bagong Henerasyon representative Bernadette R. Herrera-Dy said in a statement following questions from Business world.

The National Building Code of the Philippines, contained in a presidential decree passed in the 1970s, provides guidelines on how buildings and structures are to be constructed, including location, design and quality of materials to be used. .

“Perhaps we can resort to other legislative avenues. LGUs (local government units) could promulgate their own building, structural and safety codes, ”she said.

Most LGUs have local ordinances relating to building rules, although these mostly comply with the national code.

Herrera-Dy said in an earlier statement that rebuilding weak structures that cannot withstand calamities will not be enough, as those structures could again be easily damaged by the next disaster.

Typhoon Odette, internationally known as Rai, struck large areas of the central and southern Philippines in mid-December, causing at least 16.9 billion pesos in infrastructure damage, according to the update. January 2 assessment of the national disaster management agency.

This cost estimate covers government facilities; roads and bridges; schools, including those designated as disaster evacuation centers; health facilities and public service facilities.

There were also over 407,000 partially damaged houses and nearly 175,300 totally destroyed. The estimated cost for residential damage was P28.16 million.

The solon said the government should also introduce more loans for repairing houses and disaster loans should be adjusted according to inflation.

She also proposed that families living in areas vulnerable to calamities become members of the Home Development Mutual Fund, more commonly known as the Pag-IBIG Fund, a government-owned and controlled company that operates a savings program and low cost shelter loans. It also has a disaster loan program for contributing members.

On pending legislation for the creation of a Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR), Ms Herrera-Dy said its passage was affected by restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic, but the recent typhoon underscored the urgency to have an agency focusing on calamities. preparation and response.

“The pandemic may have delayed the DDR bill, but as we can clearly see, typhoons, earthquakes and volcanoes don’t care about pandemics. They happen to be on strike, ”she said.

The House of Representatives adopted its version of the bill under Bill 59589 in September 2021. It has been referred to the Senate and is currently pending before the National Defense Committee.

For the immediate response to the aftermath of Typhoon Odette, Ms Herrera-Dy said different departments of the executive can review available funds that could be reallocated for relief and recovery measures.

She cited that based on disbursement data from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in September 2021, there was a total of 690 billion pesos of uncommitted funds between 10 departments.

She said only 1% of these funds or 6.9 billion pesos would be sufficient for reconstruction projects.

Before the end of 2021, DBM said it had released 7.68 billion pesos to local governments and national agencies for disaster relief operations in areas affected by the typhoon. – Jaspearl Emerald G. Tan

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