The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is enjoining all local government units (LGUs) in earthquake-affected areas to immediately inspect all buildings in their respective jurisdictions to ensure public safety 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 on Tuesday afternoon.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año is urging all LGUs, through their building officials, to conduct the inspections as well as to coordinate with local offices of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to ensure proper compliance to 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.
“Aside from being physically present in your respective LGUs during these times, all local chief executives are reminded to not be complacent in doing preemptive measures to ensure that all structures are safe for use,” he says.
According to the NBCP, 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.”
“Huwag po nating ipagwalang-bahala if you see any portion of a building wracked, warped, buckled, or settled to such an extent that walls or other structural portions have materially less resistance to earthquake, you should immediately inform the building owners. There should be no compromise when it comes to public safety,” he adds.
Año further directs 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 on Monday. "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. Have the local chief executives convened their respective Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (LDRRMCs)?" he says.
The DILG Chief has also instructed the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the BFP to assist in rescue and relief efforts in earthquake affected areas in Luzon and Visayas especially in areas near the epicenter of the earthquakes.
Meanwhile, the PNP Chief, Police General Oscar Albayalde has directed the Police Regional Office III under P/BGen. Joel Napoleon Coronel to activate their 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 says that 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.
Moreover, he reminds 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.
“Sa ganitong panahon ng sakuna, LGUs should be able to test their coordination and communication mechanism during response operations, and understand the command and control mechanism in emergency and disaster operation of their LDRRMCs,” he points out