Bill seeks earthquake resilient buildings

November 17, 2019

IN preparation for strong earthquakes and other natural calamities, buildings should be resilient and durable.

This was stressed by Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco as he filed House Bill 5447 or the Philippine Wind and Earthquake Resilience Standardization Act (PWERSA).

Under the measure, buildings are required to use, at the minimum, grade 60 microalloyed steel rebars which will ensure durability and resilience against natural hazards that occur annually.

“The devastating earthquake that struck Mindanao should serve as a wake-up call for us to rethink the way we build high-rises,” Velasco said.

“Lives are lost, buildings and houses are razed to the ground …we don’t want that to happen,” he added.

Citing facts, Velasco said the Philippines is situated in the “Ring of Fire,” an area in the basin of the Pacific Ocean where many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.

Ninety percent of the world’s earthquakes, and 81% of the world’s largest earthquakes occur along the Ring of Fire.

According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, intense earthquakes will inevitably hit the Philippines’ most densely-populated areas and provinces.

Such events will possibly collapse buildings, and consequently cause a catastrophic loss of life.

Aside from the earthquake threat, about 20 major storms batter the Philippines each year.

According to Time Magazine, the Philippines is “the most exposed country in the world to tropical storms.”

The high winds these storms bring pose significant risks to the stability of tall buildings.

With the modern construction trend of developing multi-story buildings instead of traditional low rise infrastructures, Velasco stressed that the country must begin to adopt new measures that will future-proof establishments, offices, condominiums and other industrial, institutional, commercial and residential infrastructures from the threat of hazards.

He said a high rise infrastructure is highly vulnerable to wind and earthquake damage and seemingly large portions of Philippine metropolises are now comprised of these structures.

“These massive buildings now tower over millions of Filipinos, who live, work, shop, stroll, and play in them every day,” Velasco said.

“To mitigate the damage and loss of life during disasters, we should standardize the use of high quality rebars in all high rise infrastructures across the nation. The safety and welfare of Filipinos should never be compromised,” he also said.