‘Block 4 is safe if measures followed’
The group that assessed the structural integrity of the burned area of the Baguio public market recommended the immediate implementation of corrective measures to ensure the safety of vendors and the public.
As short-term solutions, the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers-Baguio recommended the section of Block 4 found to be hazardous should remain unoccupied while limited occupancy should be observed on the area considered as critical.
In its report, PICE-Baguio also recommended for the city to brace the warped decking with steel sections, conduct a core test to validate actual load-carrying capacity and the strength of the columns that showed honeycombing or the presence of voids, and cover the slabs to prevent water seepage, among other measures.
PICE-Baguio President Richard Pascua, who presented the report of the group’s structural committee to the city council, added the structure should be continuously monitored for any residual deformation.
The PICE said the vendors are safe as long as the remedy measures are implemented and no vendors are allowed to occupy the sections declared as hazardous.
As a long-term solution, the group recommended the demolition and replacement of the floor system and the warped decks.
City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña said they took note of the recommendations of PICE and are making sure the second floor of Block 4 is not occupied.
He said with the result of the PICE inspection and the assessment done by the City Engineering Office, the structure is safe as long as the recommendations are adhered to.
“The vendors at the ground floor are safe and we will conduct regular monitoring of the structure to observe if there are distortion. The only unsafe aspect is that the vendors get wet when it rains, but we are addressing this by fast-tracking the procurement of water proofing materials,” dela Peña said.
The City Market Authority was instructed to make sure no one enters the second floor of Block 4.
Councilor Mylen Victoria Yaranon, who earlier requested for the conduct of a structural assessment of Block 4, asked for the identification of a safer relocation site for the vendors as the short-term solutions are being implemented.
Dela Peña said their concern for now is to provide the vendors with a source of livelihood and the long-term solution would be the demolition of the structure and implementation of the market modernization plan. – Jane B. Cadalig