The House Committee on Public Works and Highways on Thursday unanimously approved the proposed Philippine Building Act providing for stricter regulations in the construction and design of buildings to guarantee resilience against earthquake, flood, typhoons and other natural and man-made calamities.
Chaired by Romblon Rep. Eleandro Jesus Madrona, the House panel consolidated 15 proposed legislative measures that sought a total overhaul of the existing but antiquated National Building Code.
Addressing the destructive effects of climate change was among the principal considerations provided in the approved consolidated bill.
Madrona said the bill to be recommended for plenary approval contains provisions for safety measures that will ensure stronger structural integrity of all buildings and shelters to withstand the worsening natural disasters hitting the country.
“We have included in the bill the proposals from the United Architects of the Philippines and other similar organizations who are experts in the field of construction and engineering,” he explained.
According to Madrona the UAP sent a number of recommendations but not all were included in the bill.
“We cannot expect all recommendations to be included because some may be in conflict with the overall intention of the bill,” stressed Madrona.
Bohol Rep. Edgar Chatto welcomed the committee’s decision to “put in place and adequately provide” measures that will address the effects of climate change and support the need for more environmental-friendly infrastructures.
“Those are the most important provisions we prioritized for inclusion in the bill,” Madrona assured Chatto.
Marikina City Rep. Bayani Fernando, author of House Bill 923, said building permit processes have to be “streamlined, distinguishing simple buildings from special buildings with commensurate requirements.”
“It is urgent for the Philippines go update our building regulations and standards in order to better safeguard life, health, property and public welfare, consistent with the principles of sustainable development,” said Fernando, whose family owns a construction firm.
On the other hand, Quezon Rep. David C. Suarez, another principal author of the bill, said the measure will provide all buildings and structures a framework of minimum standards and requirements aimed at protecting life and property.
“This act shall hold relevant stakeholders accountable in ensuring compliance with its provisions. Moreover, this bill proposes to establish sustainability standards for government-owned buildings, mitigating any negative environmental, economic and social impacts,” the former Quezon governor stressed.