Bong Go: Amendments to Nat’l Building Code a must for safer, disaster-resilient communities

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Monday, September 26 renewed his push for the passage of the proposed Philippine Building Act of 2022, which aims to set higher standards and benchmarks in the construction of buildings to ensure the structural stability and integrity of edifices and make it disaster-resilient.

The measure, Senate Bill No. 1181, seeks to provide more effective regulation of planning, design, construction, occupancy and maintenance of all public and private buildings and structures, and promotes building resilience against natural and man-made disasters.

The bill also primarily seeks to amend the National Building Code of the Philippines to ensure that all buildings and structures are built according to the principle of “building back better.”

Go noted that it has been decades since the country’s National Building Code was enacted into law and it is high-time to update some of its provisions in line with the new and modern science and technology.

“Panahon na po upang ating pag-aralan ang pag-update sa National Building Code na ito (It’s time to study updating the National Building Code),” Go said in a statement.

“'Building back better' requires that in the reconstruction of damaged structures, due consideration shall be given to the possibility of the disaster repeating itself,” he further said.

“Ire-require din natin na ma-integrate ang disaster resilience measures sa paggawa ng rules and regulations, at sa reference standards para sa pagplano, pag-design, at pag-reconstruct ng mga bagong buildings and structures na itatayo (We will also require that disaster resilience measures are integrated when making the rules and regulations and new reference standards in the planning, design and construction of new buildings and structures),” explained Go.

Go said the same requirement should be applied in the establishment of permanent evacuation centers in every city, province and municipality nationwide, which is under proposed Senate Bill No. 193.

Go has filed Senate Bill No. 193 or the proposed Mandatory Evacuation Center Act of 2022, which aims to ensure that disaster-affected families can take refuge in evacuation centers that are safe, dedicated and equipped with basic necessities.

In accordance with the specifications of the National Building Code, Go said these evacuation centers shall be constructed and designed to withstand super typhoons or wind speeds of at least 300 kilometers per hour and seismic activity of at least 8.0 magnitude.

“More or less 20 typhoons ang pumapasok sa ating bansa bawat taon. Kaya naman napaka importante po ng (enter the country every year. That’s why it’s very important to ensure) disaster resiliency, especially since our geographic location makes us vulnerable to other disasters, such as earthquakes, landslides, storm surges and more,” the senator noted.