September 26, 2022

With only 20 percent of the more than 50,000 structures in Baguio issued a building permit, the city government is planning to relax the requirements in permit application to assure the safety and integrity of structures in the city in light of occurrence of earthquake and similar disasters.
In a press conference, City Planning and Development Officer Donna Tabangin called on land title holders who have structures built on their titled property to apply for a building permit to determine if these structures are safe.
But she acknow-ledged many residential and building owners have yet to secure building permit for not having a land title.
Tabangin said one of the strategies the executive department is planning is to issue building permit applicants with a document that serves as a precursor to a building permit just so the city can investigate or conduct assessment of the built structures.
“Many of structure owners are still in the application process and of course, it takes years for those applications to be processed. As the City Buildings and Architecture Office said, many structures were put up sans building permit due to necessity. But since we are looking at that very big number of structures that need to be accounted for in terms of safety, we are looking at issuing them a permit for us to check the structural capability and provide technical assistance to make it compliant to the law and assure its safety and integrity,” Tabangin said.
Engr. Stephen Capuyan of the CBAO has encouraged building owners to have their structures assessed even if they do not have building permit for safety purposes.
“Dapat ipa-assess nila sa technical people kasi alam naming gusto nilang mag-apply for a building permit pero hindi namin nabibigyan dahil wala pa silang lot title, but we encourage assessment to see if these structures are resilient,” Capuyan said.
He said the city needs barangay officials to help in monitoring building activities in their jurisdiction to assure these structures are issued building permits as the CBAO cannot do it alone.
Based on its 2020 data, the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (DOST-Phivolcs), which simulated the July 16, 1990 magnitude 7.8 earthquake, reported Baguio City would have an estimated 104 casualties, 216 collapsed structures, and 2,559 heavily damaged structures.
“But that’s simulation. What we need to do, particularly local government units, is to continuously update its building and population data, employ engineering interventions, and follow the National Structural Code of the Philippines,” said Dr. Rommel Grutas, DOST-Phivolcs supervising science research specialist. – Hanna C. Lacsamana