Get ready for ‘Big One,’ DILG tells local chief execs

February 27, 2020

INTERIOR and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año has directed local chief executives (LCEs) to submit structural assessment report on buildings and infrastructures in their respective localities in preparation for and anticipation of the massive earthquake dubbed “Big One.”

Año gave the LGU heads 90 days to do so or risk facing sanctions. The countdown started Wednesday.

He said that the safety of the people is paramount and the reason why LGUs are encouraged not to ignore the directive and submit to the DILG and the Department of Public Works and Highways comprehensive assessments of establishments.

“We will never know when the Big One will hit us, kaya dapat natin itong paghandaan,” he added.

LGUs are also directed to submit action plans to respond to the assessment’s findings, and Ano emphasized that non-compliance with the 90-day deadline may not readily lead to sanctions but in the eventuality that subpar buildings collapse and cause injuries or fatalities, administrative or criminal cases will be filed against them.

“We will not automatically file cases against the non-compliant LGUs. Pero magkakaroon ng kaso kapag mayroon ng damage to properties at loss of lives dahil sa negligence ng LGU,” he said.

The 90-day deadline reinforces the DILG-DTI-DPWH Joint Memorandum Circular 2019-01 which was issued last October 2019.

According to the memorandum, provincial, city and municipal LGUs are directed to assess the structural integrity of all public and private buildings, facilities, and infrastructure as to their conformance with the standards of the National Building Code of the Philippines and requirements of disaster resilience founded on a science-based approach to hazard and risk assessment.

“Binibigyan lang natin sila ng timeframe para mapabilis ang essessment nila. From these assessments, we can now evaluate. We will ensure that the LGUs will comply,” he said.

The DILG chief said that LGUs, being the arm of the government in the locality, must be at the helm of the implementation of the JMC 2019-01 for “strict compliance with the policy can save lives.”