Annual inspection for public and private school buildings pushed

Annual inspection for public and private school buildings pushed

The government will soon conduct an annual inspection of public and
private school buildings to ensure its stability in the face of
calamity.

Under House Bill 4605, authored by Reps. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd
District, Pampanga) and Diosdado Arroyo (2nd District, Camarines Sur),
an annual inspection of all private and public school buildings in the
country shall be made at the beginning of every school year.

Arroyo said the structural integrity of a school building and its
fitness, including its capacity to accommodate the number of students
and capacity to withstand earthquakes and typhoons and other similar
natural occurrences will be taken into account.

“To be considered during the inspection is the availability of comfort
rooms, proper ventilation and lightings in the schools,” Arroyo said.

Arroyo said the bill is a preemptive and preventive measure to
minimize, if not totally avoid, the occurrences of similar tragedies
in the future.

“This could be done economically by using existing local government
resources in ensuring the suitability, safety and structural design of
the school building,” Arroyo said.

Arroyo cited the November 7, 2008 incident in Petion Ville, a suburb
in the Hatian capital of Port-au-Prince where a three-storey
Evangelical Promise School building collapsed. At least 50 people died
and hundreds injured and many trapped in the rubbles for days.

Arroyo also mentioned the tragedy at the Central Colleges of the
Philippines in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija during the July 1990 earthquake
and the 7.9-magnitude earthquake that hit China’s southwestern
province on Sichuan last May 12, 2008.

Under the bill, the mandatory annual inspection shall be conducted
yearly by city or municipal engineers and building officials within
these areas at least 45 days prior to the start of every school year.

The bill mandates the city or municipal engineer and building
officials to submit a comprehensive report disclosing their findings
and recommendations.

Under the bill, concerned officials who refuse to act on the report or
recommendation shall suffer a jail term of 6 months to 2 years and a
fine ranging from P10,000 to P100,000 or both, at the discretion of
the court plus perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

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