The Emilio Aguinaldo College along San Marcelino near corner UN. Ave leans on the adjacent building after an earthquake.
Edd Gumban
Emilio Aguinaldo building integrity to be probed
Rey Galupo (The Philippine Star) - April 24, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (DRRMC) yesterday recommended to the administrators of Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) to investigate the structural integrity of the school’s building that was affected by the earthquake on Monday.

The 10-story EAC building located near the corner of San Marcelino Street and UN Avenue tilted to the left and reclined on the adjacent building.

City engineer Rogelio Legaspi said a series of tests and surveys are needed to determine how much damage the building absorbed from the tremor.

Meanwhile, the Manila Police District closed the stretch of San Marcelino to Padre Faura yesterday morning to avoid any untoward incidents, causing massive traffic on both sides of UN Avenue.

EAC president Jose Paulo Campos said they are open to investigation by structural engineers to ensure the safety not only of their students but the public as well.

Workers from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) sifted through debris and closed the sidewalk to pedestrians.

But the local government of Manila will not yet withdraw the occupancy permit it issued to EAC, city administrator Ericson Alcovendaz said yesterday.

“The DPWH called us up (yesterday) morning. Their suggestion to us was to withdraw in the meantime the occupancy permit of EAC,” Alcovendaz said.

Alcovendaz said Legaspi, who led a team of inspectors that joined the DPWH during the inspection of EAC buildings, reported to Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada that EAC kept its “structural integrity.”

“Only the designs were destroyed. That is why (Legaspi) is not recommending yet the withdrawal of EAC’s occupancy permit,” Alcovendaz added.

The Manila DRRMC also convened yesterday to assess the structural damage to government buildings and bridges in the city following the earthquake.

Estrada earlier ordered the city engineering officials to conduct inspections on all government facilities, including the city hall, sports complex, health centers, business establishments and city hospitals.

The mayor declared class suspension in all levels, including summer and remedial classes, upon the recommendation of Manila DRRMC chief Felix Abad.

Estrada said he wanted to ensure the safety of students in anticipation of aftershocks.

The Manila Barangay Bureau, on the other hand, issued a memorandum to all barangay executives to submit a report on the extent of damage to buildings and other structures in their areas.

School inspection

For its part, the Department of Education (DepEd) has ordered the inspection of all school buildings and other education facilities in regions affected by the magnitude 6.1 earthquake that hit parts of Luzon on Monday afternoon.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones visited affected schools in Pampanga yesterday afternoon to assess the damage caused by the tremor.

Briones directed school heads, principals and teachers-in-charge to undertake a thorough investigation of the structural integrity of schools and DepEd offices in affected areas, according to DepEd Undersecretary for administration Alain del Pascua.

“Only when the structural integrity and safety of buildings and facilities is assured can the learners, teachers and personnel be allowed to enter the same,” Pascua said.

DepEd Undersecretary for finance and spokesperson Annalyn Sevilla said facilities found to have sustained damage would be referred to local building officials and the DPWH for further assessment and action.

“(If) the building official says it is not structurally safe, then we will program it for replacement. We will have to establish temporary learning spaces,” she added.

A rapid assessment conducted by DepEd showed that nine division offices and15 public schools in Metro Manila, Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog have sustained damage following the earthquake. – With Jose Rodel Clapano, Janvic Mateo, Robertzon Ramirez, Delon Porcalla, Marc Jayson Cayabyab

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