Are schools in PH earthquake-proof?
MANILA, Philippines - The magnitude 7.2 quake that rocked Central Visayas happened on a holiday -- fortunately keeping school children away from danger.
With the government rebuilding destroyed schools, the education department wants to make sure the new buildings will be earthquake-proof.
Jee Geronimo reports.
How strong was the earthquake that hit Central Visayas on October 15? It killed more than 200 people, destroyed centuries-old churches and isolated towns due to impassable bridges. Latest reports say more than 600 schools in Bohol alone were damaged. Fortunately, there were no casualties in schools that day, a holiday.
BR ARMIN LUISTRO, DEPED SECRETARY: Medyo kakaiba yung challenge 'pag earthquake unlike the usual baha or kaya bagyo ano. Kasi sa earthquake naco-compromise yung structure. So unang-una, lahat ng eskwelahan, kesyo nadamage o hindi, ay kailangan naming bisitahin. (The challenge is a little different when you’re dealing with earthquakes instead of the usual flood and storm. The structure is compromised in earthquakes. So we have to visit all the schools whether they were damaged or not.)
Luistro says the Department of Public Works and Highways will rebuild classrooms and make them more earthquake proof. The latest building code require structures that can withstand a magnitude 9 earthquake and 250 kph winds. More than 500 classrooms are turned over to the Department of Education. The first batch in the Public-Private Partnership School Infrastructure Project. Winning contractor Megaworld also says the school buildings will last generations.
EDGAR SAAVEDRA, PRESIDENT, MEGAWIDE CONSTRUCTION CORP.: The method we used here, we used the solid concrete instead of hollow blocks because hindi lang naman earthquake e. Even though yung durability, we're talking about 50 years, 60 years, the solid concrete will still last longer from leaks even to earthquakes, it's even stronger.
About 30% of schools in Bohol will have to be torn down and replaced. Students in affected schools will have to hold classrooms in tents. If October 15 was a school day, more lives would’ve been lost.
More than meeting its target number of classrooms, the department now faces a new challenge: to build strong schools that can withstand the worst of disasters. Jee Geronimo, Rappler, Bulacan. - Rappler.com