Leyte Samar Daily Express
PALO, Leyte – At least 61 government-owned buildings and classrooms in Eastern Visayas are vulnerable to earthquake damages based on initial inspection reports of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
The report from eight out of the 12 engineering districts of the region showed that some state infrastructures needs immediate repair due to visible cracks on walls and partitions, dilapidated ceilings, displaced roofs and floors, and unstable soil.
Of the 62 structures that need repair, 31 are school buildings, 28 are local government and national government buildings, and two hospitals located in Biliran, Eastern Samar, Southern Leyte, Samar second district, Northern Samar second district, and three three districts in Leyte.
DPWH Regional Director Rolando Asis said that they are still waiting for inspection reports from four other engineering districts in the region.
“The inspection is ongoing as part of our preparation program if in case an earthquake will hit the region. We have to check buildings because some of these were built as early as1950s,” Asis told Leyte Samar Daily Daily Express.
Trained inspectors from maintenance, planning, and construction divisions were recently mobilized to undertake the regionwide inspection.
Among the schools with some classrooms that require rehabilitation to withstand ground shaking are Jugaban Elementary Schools, Carigara, Leyte; Sangahon Elementary School, Malitbog, Southern Leyte, Tawid Eelementary School, Maasin City; Panan-awan Elementary School, Maasin City, Lonoy Elementary School, Maasin City; Alangalang National High School, Alangalang, Leyte; Babatngon Central School, Babatngon, Leyte; and Quinapondan Elementary School and Quinapondan National High School in Quinapondan, Eastern Samar.
“The list of schools was sent to the Department of Education because it is under their responsibility. We also give recommendations for them to make budget proposals for rehabilitation,” Asis said.
Listed government offices prone to quake destruction are the Marcos type building (municipal annex) in Carigara, Leyte; Tagnipa barangay hall in Maasin City; municipal building of San Juan, Southern Leyte; town hall of Hinunangan, Southern Leyte; municipal building, sangguniang bayan building, fire station, agriculture office, social welfare and development office of Babatngon, Leyte; local government unit building, legislative building, police station, postal office, municipal trial court, rural health unit in Tolosa, Leyte.
Naval municipal building, gymnasium, commercial building in Naval, Biliran; municipal health center , police station, and community hospital in Quinapondan, Eastern Samar; multi-purpose center, legislative building, health center, police station in Pambujan, Northern Samar; and municipal hall, health, multi-purpose building in San Roque Northern Samar.
The implementation of earthquake preparation program was ordered by top officials of the DPWH following the tremor that hit Haiti in 2010. It was reiterated following the recent devastating ground shaking in New Zealand and Japan.
Meanwhile, the infrastructure agency is raising the standard in the construction of roads and bridges this year to withstand the negative impact of climate change.
Asis said that program of works for all projects have been evaluated to conform with higher standard set by their main office for the year.
According to Asis, the move to upgrade the standard was pushed after heavy rains had caused damages to infrastructure in national highways.
“Our secretary noted that even if there’s no typhoon, many roads and bridges were destroyed. We were told that before making permanent structures, we have to raise the standard,” Asis said.
One example, he said, is that placing geotextile nets in landslide prone areas is now mandatory this year. (Sarwell Q. Meniano)