By Manuel L. Morato
Last December 26th, the day after Christmas, a news struck me strongly when I heard and saw the news on TV to elevate the building standards for so many buildings have toppled down in many places in Mindanao, caused even by “mild” earthquake at about 4 plus in intensity. Well-built buildings should not suffer damages at that medium intensity. But many buildings in Mindanao suffered damages.
The earthquake we had in the recent past with 6.9 intensity (which can be considered an earthquake 7) caused so many buildings to collapse. Another sign that the Building Code was not followed, weak as it is today.
If I am not mistaken, an intensity 8 and 9 earthquake (God forbid) would practically collapse all the highrise buildings in the Philippines because of the old building standards used by the contractors; and not only that: Isama na rin ninyo ang dayaan ng mga kontratista. Nagpapalusot ng inferior materials to make more money. That’s common practice that I have always feared. It’s so Filipino to say: “pwede na ‘yan.”
The Engineering Department of local governments ay nalalagyan daw to look the other way around. I’ve complained several times to inspect the two constructions next to my building here on Tomas Morato Avenue. No respond of inspection done. I course it to the Barangay Chairman, but to this day, no response from the Quezon City government.
I would like to call the attention of the Presidential Action Center in Malacañang to cause awareness to all the Local Government Units to answer the complaints coming from the neighborhood. The Barangay can only go as far as requesting to the different departments of the Local Government Units. But as many Barangays have complained they have not been listened to. May malalakas na kontratista who are able to keep the different local government departments mum and at bay. Malakas daw ang boss nila na mga may-ari ng project.
Aside from the announcement from the Office of the President about elevating the building standards on which our building contractor base their work on, with a little daya pa here and there. For example, as former Senator Nikki Coseteng has warned the public about two years ago, exposing the cheap grated steel bars which cracks easily when earthquakes occur are being used and were used in many buildings all over the country, including buildings in Makati. Now we see that these cheap imported steel bars have endangered our lives.
Imagine they got away with it due to the outmoded building standards existing since the time of Adam and Eve.
A new building standard must be done immediately considering that our country, our island archipelago rest on an earthquake belt. This calls for stricter building code, much stricter laws; and along with said revision of the building code, impose penalties of imprisonment on the government officials, both local and national who signed the permits; or rather who probably sold their inspection and approval in exchange of a fortune in lagay – a common practice; and sorry to say a bad Filipino trait. It is also happening in the justice system causing great injustices to millions of Filipinos. Cases move so slowly when the cases can be resolved in a week or a month’s time. This has really caused great concern to thousands of cases with glaring evidences that should have not been accepted in court and dismissed outright.
Since it happened to my family, I heard the outcry nationwide by people aggrieved, victims of the influence of local and national government officials who have over the fiscals and judges. Natanggap ko lahat ng daing ng napakarami nating kababayan who are suffering a lot to the point of desperation. Ubusan daw ng pera ang labanan. Ang gumawa ng mali ang nangloko at may pera at talagang may pera ang mga gumagawa ng ganitong krimen kasi mga magnanakaw at maraming ninakaw na pera sa gobiyerno ang gumagawa ng masama na langgrabbing ang pinapasukan na negosyo. Nakaw na kuwarta invested sa nakaw na mga proyekto. Kawawa ang mga nasa squatters area. Itinatapon na lang sila sa God-forsaken places.
This is my message to our government: We, the victims of landgrabbing can only wish our present government to confront this evil practice. One of the most important cures is for the courts to call all the heirs of a land if they have no objection. Kasi po as things are before and up to now, the Register of Deeds easily sell themselves in changing the names of the true owners to somebody else who present falsified Deed of Sale. Can’t the government call the attention of the Register of Deeds (RD) nationwide and fire all the heads of said agencies? It has been happening for decades and no one has tried to cure the curse. Ito po ang mga sulat na reklamo, nationwide.
I suggest for the RD to respect the Republic Act10066 prohibiting the demolition of old structures 50 years old and above without going to court first; and to enforce the Encumbrances and Restrictions on the titles. They have not been honored and allowed to be bypassed instead by the City Government through its City Council by issuing “Special Permits” to favored persons, on selective basis. What’s so “special”?
I call all the Mayors nationwide to make this a mission! Maawa kayo sa mga nabibiktima. The abuses have been going on for decades – unchecked.
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