Press Release
February 14, 2023


"AANTAYIN PA BA NATING MATULAD TAYO SA TURKEY?" - These are the strong words Senator Ramon Bong Revilla, Jr. posited during the public hearing of the Senate Committee on Public Works on Tuesday afternoon (February 14). The meeting centered on Senate Resolution No. 67 Revilla filed long before the recent earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria, which urges both the national government and local government units (LGUs) to conduct immediate audit and review of existing buildings and structures under their respectives jurisdictions. Revilla castigated DPWH who were caught flatfooted and unprepared to provide the Committee with the status of the infrastructure audit he ordered last year.

"Tuwing haharap kayo sa Senado, dapat handa kayo. Alam niyo naman ano ang paguusapan dito pero wala kayong maisagot", he said. Senators Tulfo, Dela Rosa, Tolentino, and Pimentel, who were also in attendance shared Revilla's exasperation.

The lawmaker who chairs the chamber's public works committee called the hearing to extract plans and updates from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and other government instrumentalities on the preparedness of the country's public infrastructure during times of catastrophe, in light of the 7.8 magnitude Turkey-Syria earthquake that killed close to 40,000 people in one week after the tragedy.

"Kahindik-hindik, nakaka-taas ng balahibo. Sobrang lungkot at pangamba ang ating naramdaman matapos makita ang mga video clips sa naganap na sakuna. The damage is so widespread and overwhelming. Kaya matapos natin mapanood kung ano nangyari, isa lang ang pag-uusapan natin - Are we ready? Ano ang ginagawa natin para hindi mangyari ang ganyan sa atin?", Revilla raised.

During the discussion, the lawmaker emphasized that the National Building Code is already 50 years old and may already be obsolete and unresponsive to the increasing strength of earthquakes. This was supported by renowned architect and urban planner Felino Palafox, Jr. stating that the code needs to be updated to cope with the changing of times. As opined by scientists, the destruction of infrastructures in Turkey is primarily caused by shoddy construction more than it was caused by the earthquake itself. He further queried on the actions of DPWH and building officials of LGUs on structures that are already condemned or are proven to be unfit for use due to non-compliance to standards as set by the National Building Code of the Philippines.

Revilla also warned the agency as they were involved in irregular construction and use of substandard materials on several infrastructure projects in Baguio City that resulted in lawsuits against them.

"Yung construction ng tulay sa Parapad Village, kinakasuhan ngayon ni Mayor Magalong ang mga taga-DPWH dahil nakita na substandard materials ang ginamit at irregular daw yung construction, pero ipinatuloy pa at in-accept pa ng District Office as compliant. Eh confirmed sa inspection ang irregularities. Ano ang naging aksyon niyo dito? Aantayin na lang natin na gumuho yung tulay?", the lawmaker lamented.

"Babantayan namin ito. Kung kinakailangang kami'y bumaba sa ground at inspeksyunin itong mga proyekto na 'to, gagawin namin. So watch out DPWH. Yung mga contractors na nai-involve sa mga ganyan, watch out.", he added.

Revilla bared that the hearing will be continued for more thorough discussion.

"Hindi natin mapipigilan ang mga kalamidad, pero pwede natin mapigilan ang pinsalang dulot nito", he closed.

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