Most bldgs in Caraga fail to conduct fire, quake drills: authorities admit

May 16, 2012 9:45 pm 

BUTUAN CITY, May 16 – Majority, if not all private buildings including government-owned structures, have failed to conduct fire safety and earthquake preparedness drills, says DPWH Caraga regional office here.

Worst, the region's in-charge for building monitoring and inspection for public structures, admitted they have not conducted inspections for government-owned structures on whether they are still safe or not.

DPWH regional chiefs for planning Engineers Samson Hebra and Danilo Pepito, DPWH regional head admitted for two years now they have not conducted a region-wide inspection and assessment on earthquake vulnerability and safety

“After the March 16, 2012 5.9 intensity quake that hit Surigao City and Dinagat Islands that hurt 20 people, we inspected some buildings there but not all because of so many works in our office and our time can’t cope with our busy schedules” Engr. Pepito admitted in an interview by this writer with Engr. Hebra at the DPWH Caraga regional office here in Butuan City Tuesday.

Pepito also admitted the DPWH lack gadgets or instruments to test building vulnerability on quakes.

“In the Surigao City March 16 quake we noticed small cracks of some commercial buildings there but since they do not fall under our jurisdictions because it is privately owned, I think the Surigao City building and licensing permits division or the LGU as a whole has jurisdiction over it, I do not know if they inspected thoroughly buildings there after that earthquake” Pepito added.

“While laws especially Batas Pambansa 344 and the revised National Building and Fire Safety Codes stated the government’s role in assuring public safety, DPWH can’t do it alone because we have to coordinate with local government units who has regulatory and vast powers including police powers since they are the ones who issued building and occupancy permits for both private and government owned structures” says Engr. Samson Hebra, regional chief for design and planning development division of the DPWH13 regional office.

Hebra admitted there really is a dire need to inspect old government buildings particularly crowded public school buildings like Agusan National High School and Butuan City Central Elementary School were it is always overcrowded due over population of occupancy in school days.

They said school children must be taught where to go, where to hide for safety and what things must be and must not be done during emergency situations.

The Butuan City Fire Marshall and the Bureau of Fire Protection claimed they have not issued Fire Safey Inspection Certificate to Novo because it failed to conduct fire safety drills. (PNA) hbc/BS/utb

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