Press Release
February 12, 2023

Tolentino renews call to update, strengthen PH Building Code

MANILA - Senator Francis 'Tol' N. Tolentino on Sunday renewed his call for the amendment of the country's National Building Code in anticipation of the so-called 'The Big One' amid the deadly earthquake that recently hit large portions of Turkey and Syria.

Tolentino said that strengthening the existing provisions enshrined in the Building Code is long overdue since it is necessary to ensure the structural integrity of establishments and their resiliency should a destructive earthquake--similar to the one that happened in central Turkey and Western Syria--hits Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

"Ang isa pong leksyon dito (sa Turkey-Syria earthquake) ay kung paano po natin mapapalakas ang ating building code... siguro panahon na para i-review natin ang Building Code, Lalong-lalo na sa mga areas sa may fault lines," said Tolentino in an interview with DZBB.

Tolentino, former chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) explained that one good lesson the national government should learn from the Turkey-Syria earthquake is ensuring that structural integrity and residential and business establishments-- should be periodically checked to help assess the safety of such structures.

Based on the study conducted by MMDA and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in 2004, many structures in the National Capital Region (NCR) and nearby provinces will not able to withstand the so-called 'The Big One'--a 7.2 magnitude earthquake which experts believed can originate from the Marikina Valley Fault System, particularly the West Valley fault line.

During his stint as MMDA chairman, Tolentino spearheaded the regular conduct of the metro-wide 'shake drill' as well as the so-called 'Oplan Metro Yakal' to prepare the public on what to do during strong earthquakes, minimizing casualties and injuries.

The Senate Committee on Public Works is expected to hear next week pending legislations that seek to amend Republic Act No. 6541 or the National Building Code of the Philippines which was enacted back in August 1972 or more than five decades ago.

Meanwhile, Tolentino also stressed the importance of further raising the level of disaster preparedness not only in Metro Manila but also in other parts of the country especially that many provinces--like in Abra and Davao region--were also jolted by strong earthquakes during the previous months.

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