Reassessment on safety, structural integrity may be needed for government-owned offices in Cebu

By: Rosalie Abatayo - CDN Digital | December 18,2019 - 12:27 PM

The Palace of Justice has been cordoned off after it sustained major damage during the Oct. 15, 2013 magnitude 7.2 earthquake. | CDN FILE PHOTO

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Government offices do not run out of clients on a daily basis.

So while these offices cater a lot of people everyday–be it employees or those who want to make transactions, the question now is: Are these people under government structures safe during calamities like destructive earthquakes?

Read: 6.9 magnitude earthquake shakes southern Mindanao

Cebu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) Chief Neil Angelo Sanchez said a reassessment on safety and structural integrity may be needed for all government-owned offices in the province.

He said he is already in talks with the Provincial Engineering Office (PEO) for the reassessment of government structures, starting with the Cebu Provincial Capitol.

“We have to review our structures, especially the government-owned structures, for structural integrity. Even the structures sa municipalities atong i-review and assess. Probably one of the agencies that can help us out is the Provincial Engineering Office (PEO) and the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) kay they have the technical people to do that,” Sanchez told CDN Digital.

The reassessment, Sanchez said, would enable concerned offices to place precautionary measures to reduce risks in the government structures.

Sanchez said he has started planning the evaluation of the structural integrity of the government structures with PEO since the series of earthquakes in Mindanao started last October.

Read: Magnitude 5.9 earthquake rocks Bukidnon

“Initially we have already discussed with PEO. It was just overtaken by [typhoon] Tisoy but we will be discussing that again. We have to start with our own surroundings here before we go to other areas,” Sanchez said.

Palace of Justice

The Marcelo Fernan Palace of Justice sits as the highest risk inside the Provincial Capitol Compound.

The Palace of Justice, which was condemned after the Magnitude 7.2 earthquake in 2013, sits in between the main Capitol building that holds the executive department and the legislative building that hosts the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, the Commission on Elections (Comelec), Commission of Audit (COA) and the Department of Agrarian Reform, among others.

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, in a separate interview, said she intends to take over the building, which sits on a Capitol-owned lot.

Garcia said they are communicating with the Supreme Court, which owns the building, to discuss her plan to make use of the property.

Garcai said once she would be able to clear terms with the SC, the Palace of Justice will be evaluated to determine if it can be salvaged through retrofitting.

“First of all, tan-awon ang structural integrity kung unsay kinahanglanon kung i-retrofit  ba o kinahanglan gyud gub-on unya magtukod ta og bag-ong building,” Garcia said.

(First of all, we have to check the structural integrity, what needs to be done, if it has to be retrofitted or tore down entirely and build a new building.)

Garcia said she would use the building to host other offices in the Capitol and lease out if there will be remaining office spaces.

‘Natural’ risks

Meanwhile, Sanchez also urged Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Offices (LDRRMO) to look into the high risk communities in their areas of jurisdiction.

“Sa atoa pod nga mga LDRRMO, they are already capacitated. It’s just a matter of reassessing and rereviewing especially sa mga landslide prone areas which is usa pod sa mga high risk kung dunay earthquake,” Sanchez said.

LDRRMO, he added, should also make preemptive measures in these areas in order to reduce the risk during calamities. /bmjo

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TAGS: Cebu‬, earthquakes, government buildings, Gwen, SAFE, safety, structural integrity

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