By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senators on Tuesday stressed the importance of sturdy infrastructure following the 6.1-magnitude earthquake that rocked Zambales, Pampanga, Metro Manila and other nearby provinces Monday afternoon.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said the government should consider reviewing the building regulations to ensure that the country’s basic infrastructure will endure stronger earthquakes in the future.
“We should improve our building standards to withstand stronger earthquakes as well, considering we are within the [Pacific] Ring of Fire. Furthermore, [we should] adopt appropriate measures to prepare our people for the Big One. [It is] Better to be prepared,” Recto said in a text message.
He also called on the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and other concerned agencies to make sure that transport structures are safe before accommodating commuters.
“DPWH and other relevant government agencies must inspect our transport infrastructure to ensure safety of passengers,” he added.
The damage at the Clark International Airport in Pampanga, meanwhile, proved the need to build a new airport, according to Senate President Vicente Sotto III.
“I am told it’s only the ceiling that we’re affected. Nevertheless, it’s best that we build a new and modern airport there,” Sotto said in a separate message.
The Clark international Airport Corporation (CIAC) plans to implement partial operations at the airport on Wednesday, April 24, after its assessment found that the tower, apron, runways and taxiways are “structurally sound” despite the tremor.
Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade has also ordered an emergency procurement for the repair of the equipment and facilities at the airport damaged by the earthquake.
Meanwhile, representatives of the DPWH, meanwhile, conducted on Tuesday an inspection at the Senate builing in Pasay City.
Recto earlier said that “cracks” were seen in the building after the earthquake. He ordered the suspension of work in Senate while awaiting the report on the inspection.
“I expect to get a report within the day. No need to rush anyone. Once I have a report and OSAA (Office of the Sergeant at Arms) recommendation then it’s easy to decide,” Recto, who acts as the officer-in-charge, said on Tuesday.
Senate Sergeant at Arms Jose Balajadia Jr., for his part, said they were waiting for any notice from Recto’s office whether the Senate will resume work on Wednesday or not.