By Chito Chavez
The Bureau of Fire and Protection (BFP) in Metro Manila has deployed fire marshals to coordinate with local building officials and concerned agencies in assessing the damage to all commercial and residential structures in the aftermath of Monday’s 6.1 magnitude tremor.
BFP-National Capital Region (NCR) Director Senior Supt. Wigberto Rico Neil Kwan Tiu said he will regularly meet with his men to check on their inspection reports.
He cited the importance of such inspections’ to determine any possible damage to buildings in Metro Manila after the earthquake.
In intensifying building inspection, Kwan Tiu said this will prevent any catastrophe and tragedy that may befall the public if unsafe structures are allowed to be occupied.
Kwan Tiu joined BFP chief Director Leonard Bañago in helping the local fire department in assessing the structural safety of the buildings in Pampanga.
The rescue operations in Porac, Pampanga where a four-storey supermarket collapsed were disrupted by the 4.5 magnitude tremor that hit the area at dawn on Wednesday.
BFP-NCR Assistant Regional Director Senior Supt. Jose Fernan Bangyod said the BFP is part of the team that includes the affected local government units (LGU) which will make recommendations on whether to demolish or retrofit structures found to have cracks.
“Maaaring for possible renovation or demolition (There is a possibility of a renovation or demolition),” Bangyod said.
Bangyod said the BFP is closely scrutinizing the photos submitted by the fire marshals of the inspected buildings in Metro Manila where cracks were found to better assess what actions should be taken.
Aside from commercial buildings, the BFP will also inspect old hospitals and residential establishments like lodging inns and dormitories.
At least two schools – the Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) in Manila and the Cupang Senior High School in Muntinlupa were reportedly severely damaged by the 6.1 quake.
Businessman and former Quezon City mayoral candidate Johnny Chang said Mondays’ earthquake has exposed the corrupt acts of government engineers and local officials and urged higher authorities to crack the whip on rogue government officials and their cohorts found to have been part of a syndicate that allowed the use of sub-standard materials in building construction.