Bong Go

Bong Go refiles proposed enhanced Philippine Building Act

August 22, 2022 People's Journal 484 views

SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go continues to push for safer and more disaster-resilient communities as he refiled his proposed Philippine Building Act of 2022 which shall provide more effective regulation of planning, design, construction, occupancy, and maintenance of all public and private buildings and structures, promoting building resilience against natural and man-made calamities.

The primary aim of Senate Bill No. 1181 is to protect the public welfare and to mitigate the impact of disasters by setting standards and benchmarks of requirements that all buildings and structures must meet with the recommended structural stability and integrity designed to withstand disasters.

In pursuit of these policies, the proposed measure shall likewise institutionalize a system that will provide for periodic review and flexible mechanisms in the updating of regulations and will strengthen the participation of relevant stakeholders and building owners, underscoring the importance of continuing innovation in building design and construction.

Go also underscored the importance of improving building regulations and setting a framework of minimum standards, especially considering how vulnerable the country is to natural disasters due to its geographical location.

The lawmaker likewise stressed, “Ilang dekada na po ang nakalipas mula nang maging batas ang National Building Code of the Philippines. Naipasa po ito nung 1977 at mula noon, marami na po ang nagbago at marami na po tayong natutunan tungkol sa building safety dahil sa makabagong siyensya. Panahon na po upang ating pag-aralan ang pag-update sa National Building Code na ito.”

Go then noted that there are some standards on fire safety and sanitation that are not included in the current law, leaving several gaps and inadequacies that need to be addressed. In order to resolve this, Go has proposed amendments to make certain that all buildings and structures are built according to the principle of “building back better”.

“Napakahalaga ng disaster resiliency dito sa ating bansa dahil maliban sa around 20 typhoons ang pumapasok sa ating bansa taun-taon, our geographic location makes us vulnerable to other disasters, such as earthquakes, landslides, storm surges and more,” he previously cited.

“’Building back better’ requires that in the reconstruction of damaged structures, due consideration shall be given to the possibility of the disaster repeating itself. Ire-require din natin na ma-integrate ang disaster resilience measures sa paggawa ng rules and regulations, at sa reference standards para sa pagplano, pag-design, at pag-reconstruct ng mga bagong buildings and structures na itatayo,” explained Go.

If the measure is passed into law, the National Building Official (NBO) will be primarily responsible for its execution, administration and enforcement, while a Building Regulations and Standards Council will be established to assist the NBO in reviewing and recommending rules and regulations and reference standards to accomplish the objectives of the proposed law.

The bill also covers the review and inspection of old buildings to ensure that structural integrity of these structures are compliant. To promote accountability among stakeholders, building owners of any proposed construction or existing building or structure will also be asked to secure the appropriate permits from the Local Building Official, prior to the start of such work or occupancy.

Lastly, in coordination with relevant agencies, the NBO will develop and administer incentive schemes, such as those allowed by the disaster risk reduction and management funds, to promote voluntary compliance and to encourage business owners to support the use of environmentally sound or sustainable materials, methods, practices, and technologies.

“Huwag na po natin hintayin pa na magkaroon pa ng sakuna. Dapat palagi tayong one-step ahead at importante na maging handa tayo para masigurado na ligtas at disaster-resilient ang ating mga komunidad,” Go ended.