Annual inspection of all public and private school buildings sought

A mandatory annual inspection of all public and private school
buildings will soon be conducted by government to ensure its safety in
times of earthquakes or any other calamity.

Under House Bill 5437 authored by Reps. Mariano Michael Velarde, Jr.
and Irwin Tieng (Party-list, BUHAY), an annual inspection of all
school buildings, whether public or private, shall be conducted within
45 days prior to the start of each and every school year.

Velarde said this is to ensure the safety, security, suitability and
structural integrity of all school buildings for use by school

“The recent earthquakes all over the world, more particularly those
that occurred in Pakistan, Haiti and China caused the collapse of
several school buildings killing thousands of students,” Velarde said.

Velarde said the Philippines is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire
and should be gearing up for what is inevitable, considering it is
surrounded by several faults.

According to Velarde, concerned government agencies must ensure that
all buildings and structures in the country are structurally sound
through compliance with various building and construction laws.

“Special attention must be given to school buildings, not only for the
reason that the people who stand to be victimized by an earthquake are
mostly helpless children, but also the great majority of these
buildings belong to public schools which we very well know are
ordinarily old and dilapidated,” Velarde said.

Citing a report conducted by the Department of Education (DepEd) in
2010, Tieng said about 671 school buildings out of 779 were inspected
and were found to have structural defects.

“At present, there are 45,625 elementary and high schools across the
country, 752 of which are in the National Captial Region (NCR),” Tieng

“It is imperative for the State to take immediate action to
institutionalize the inspection of all school buildings to assess
their safety during an earthquake, or any other calamity.  Otherwise,
we risk suffering another Christian College tragedy which killed 250
teachers and students during the big quake on July 16, 1990,” Tieng

Under the bill to be known as the “School Building Safety Act of
2011,” mandatory annual inspection shall be conducted by city/
municipal engineers or building officials before the start of each and
every school year.

The bill mandates the city/municipal engineers or building officials
to submit a comprehensive report disclosing their findings and
recommendations within three (3) days after the inspection.

Under the measure, refusal to act on the report and recommendation by
a concerned official shall be meted with a penalty of imprisonment 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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