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    Posted January 11, 2014 by

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    Gauge houses vs quakes, Filipinos told

    THE Philippine government on Saturday said it would launch this year its continuing campaign for safe construction to help better protect life, limb and property against earthquakes.
    Speaking for the government, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) Director Renato Solidum Jr. said a diagnostic tool will be made available to the public beginning this year to determine if houses are safe to live in.
    ”We’ll launch that tool within 2014’s first quarter,” Solidum said, adding that Phivolcs is pursuing such campaign, noting earthquakes are natural occurrences in the Philippines since it lies in tremor-prone Pacific Ring of Fire.
    He noted the tool features 12 safe construction-related questions that every user must answer using the numbers one or zero to get a total score that’ll indicate whether or not their houses are safe.
    A score of 11 to 12 points indicate a user’s house is safe, he said.
    He said a score of eight to 10 points indicate the user must already have his or her house inspected.
    ”Scores below eight points indicate the house is dangerous to live in,” he stressed.
    Phivolcs reported this week several tremors below magnitude four occurred in Tagbilaran, the capital city of Bohol province.
    Solidum said those tremors were still aftershocks of the magnitude 7.2 killer earthquake that rocked Bohol on Oct. 15 last year.
    The earthquake’s occurrence further fuelled Phivolcs’ call for compliance with the National Building Code and other construction-related regulations.
    The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said 222 people were reported dead from that earthquake which also left nearly 800 victims injured and eight persons missing as of Oct. 31.
    NDRRMC likewise reported the earthquake damaged several infrastructure and almost 67,000 houses in Bohol, Cebu, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Iloilo, Siquijor and Guimaras provinces.
    Authorities observed substandard construction in most of the damaged houses.
    ”Follow structural design and engineering practices when constructing a house or building,” Solidum said.
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