Press Release
January 27, 2010


Senate Commitee on Public Works Chairman Bong Revilla today urged the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to make an immediate evaluation whether to finally demolish or just retrofit the four school buildings and 16 other structures in Metro Manila which were initially declared as unsafe.

"Anything can happen, anytime. We must fully address these risky structures as soon as possible. The DPWH should already have a plan of action," the senator said.

Based on the initial ocular inspections conducted by the DPWH, they declared 20 buildings in Metro Manila as unsafe. However, they insinuated that this is not yet final as they will still double-check the first findings by using different equipment, such as X-ray machines. They will release their evaluation after two months whether the buildings must be demolished or can still undergo retrofitting, strengthening a structure's foundation by driving additional piles and reinforcing its columns.

"Two months is too long if we are really considering the danger awaiting the occupants of the unsafe structures. We must not wait for loss of lives and properties before we act," said Revilla, whose particular concern is safety of the students who use the school buildings which were deemed unsafe.

It was reported that the the Andres Bonifacio Integrated School in Mandaluyong City; Araullo High School in Manila; Navotas Polytechnic College; and Kalayaan High School main building in Pasay City are among the structures that were declared unsafe. Also included are Doña Maxima Blas and Rodriguez buildings, both in Malabon City; MCF building in Marikina City; C. Bautista and Rodriguez buildings in Navotas; and MSA and Canumay West in Valenzuela City.

According to a DPWH official, they observed that these buildings either have major crack on walls, beams and floor slabs or there are irregularities in the plan. Experts said the inspected buildings which were built a decade ago or earlier were not designed to withstand a strong earthquake.

Revilla further denounced the earlier release of DPWH of its initial findings, as it created panic among the public. He stressed that the DPWH should have not made public the result of their preliminary ocular inspections until they have their final validation.

"How can the students study well with the fear that any moment they might be trapped in rubbles? How about the teachers or the employees there? Can they still perform their duties now that they know they are in a building bound to collapse? This could lead to their abscences, " he pointed out.

The lawmaker also recommended to the DPWH to also identify structures outside Metro Manila that are already unsafe to use. "We should not concentrate only in the NCR. I believe there are other buildings in other regions that need to be demolished or retrofitted, but they must first verify their findings before releasing it to the public," he added.

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