By Chito Chavez
After ordering the inspection of all structures affected by the recent earthquake, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has compelled local chief executives (LCE) to be physically present in their respective turfs to further assess the damage caused by the tremor.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año insisted that local officials should never be complacent in implementing preemptive measures to ensure the structural safety of all the buildings in their respective turfs.
The call was made after a 6.1-magnitude quake jolted parts of Luzon on Monday afternoon followed by a 6.2-magnitude tremor that rocked San Julian, Eastern Samar the following day.
Año also asked the concerned LGUs through their building officials to regularly coordinate with local offices of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to ensure proper compliance with the National Building Code of the Philippines (NBCP) or Presidential Decree 1096, s. 1997 and the Fire Code of the Philippines (FCP) or Republic Act No. 9514.
The NBCP noted that “among the qualifications for a building to be considered dangerous is whenever any portion thereof has been damaged by fire, earthquake, wind, flood or by any other cause, to such an extent that the structural strength or the stability thereof is materially less than it was before the catastrophe and is less than the minimum requirements of the Code.”
Año also gave strict orders to the concerned DILG Regional Directors and Provincial Directors to make an assessment on the quick action as well as readiness of all LGUs during and after the earthquake.
All DILG field offices must assess the effectiveness and the lapses of the recent earthquake drills conducted by LGUs; check if LGUs have immediately setup their tactical operation centers and if local chief executives convened their respective Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (LDRRMCs), Año added.
He also instructed the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the BFP to assist in the rescue and relief efforts in earthquake affected areas in Luzon and Visayas especially in areas near the epicenter.
Meanwhile, PNP Chief Police General Oscar Albayalde has directed the Police Regional Office III under P/BGen. Joel Napoleon Coronel to activate the Disaster Incident Management Task Group and immediately provide assistance to the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) III, LGUs, other government agencies, and civilian groups.
Año said the PNP is on top of the peace and order situation in all affected areas and is assisting in the clearing of all affected roads and bridges for search, rescue, and relief operations.
He also directed the BFP to assist in all ongoing rescue and relief operations.
Año also reminded the LGUs of Sections 444 and 455 of the Local Government Code that mandate local chief executives of city and municipal governments in their exercise of general supervision of their jurisdiction to visit component barangays of the municipality or city at least once every six months to deepen their understanding of problems and conditions therein.