MANILA — The additional expense required to make earthquake-safe structures is worth it especially if it would save thousands of precious lives, Sen. Loren Legarda said Monday.
Legarda made this point stressing the need for the government to prioritize earthquake-proof infrastructure following a strong earthquake which rocked Leyte last week.
It may be recalled that a magnitude 6.5 earthquake shook Leyte last Thursday (July 6). It was followed by a magnitude 5.4 aftershock on Monday (July 10) morning.
Legarda urged Leyte residents to remain vigilant for more aftershocks as she renewed her call for strengthened earthquake preparedness measures.
“Earthquakes do not kill people; unsafe structures do. Earthquakes turn into major disasters because of poorly built buildings in inappropriate places, inadequate design and materials specification, and shortcuts in construction.
The senator, Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, said that while it is good that the government is undertaking earthquake preparedness measures through safety drills during and after earthquakes, ensuring the structural integrity of buildings, bridges, roads and other infrastructure must be prioritized.
Citing reports, Legarda said that a team of geologists have already inspected an affected area in Ormoc, Leyte over the weekend and discovered that there were structures sitting on the fault line.
“…Inspection during the construction of both public and private infrastructure is important,” Legarda said.
“The occurrence of earthquakes is unpredictable that is why preparedness is all the more important. Hundreds of aftershocks, including the magnitude 5.4 aftershock today, have already been recorded following the 6.5 earthquake last week and these could further cause damage to already damaged structures,” she added.
Legarda further stressed that there should be measures for the retrofitting of critical infrastructure to withstand earthquakes.