DPWH Bicol reactivates inspection teams amidst earthquake threats

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Basud Bridge in Albay province. Photo by BICOLTODAY.com
Basud Bridge in Albay province. Photo by BICOLTODAY.com

LEGAZPI CITY (PNA) — The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Bicol has formed an inspectorate of government and private engineers that would inspect and ensure that bridges along national roads and public buildings are safe should a strong earthquake hit the region.

These engineers are from the Planning and Design, Construction and Maintenance Divisions of the DPWH regional office; DPWH district engineering offices of the six Bicol provinces; the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers (PICE); Association of Structural Engineers of the Philippines (ASEP); and the Philippine Association of Building Officials (PABO).

“These corps of engineering experts now forms the Building and Bridge Inspection Task Force (BBITF) tasked to conduct thorough assessment of vital public infrastructures particularly buildings housing schools and hospitals and bridges linking national roads,” DPWH regional director Danilo Dequito said.

The activation of the Task Force, Dequito said, was in compliance of an order recently issued by Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson as a mitigating measure against destructions that may be caused by earthquakes and tsunamis.

Dequito said the Task Force had been directed to give priority to public schools and hospital buildings in conducting the inspections and those that would be found to be hazardous should be reported and applied with precautionary measures so as not to endanger lives when hit by any natural phenomenon.

The inspection of these structures will be done periodically and immediately after an earthquake of at least Intensity IV in magnitude as maybe determined by PHIVOLCS. “We will condemn buildings that would turn out unfit for occupancy or bridges that may be weakened by an earthquake,” Dequito added.

“We witnessed the tragedies experienced by our neighboring country, we have to do our part to mitigate these disasters and thus save lives,” the DPWH regional chief told members of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC) as he announced the activation of the Task Force in a conference here over the week.

In the wake of this development, City Mayor Geraldine Rosal here had instructed the city engineering office to closely coordinate with the BBITF so that all government buildings in the locality are promptly subjected to the inspection and their worthiness determined at once. (PNA)

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