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Solon wants passage of 3 disaster-related bills after Mindanao quakes

Senator Francis Tolentino is calling for the passage of at least three measures to mitigate the effects and damage brought about by natural disasters in the country.

Toletino told reporters in Makilala, Cotabato that he is supporting the approval of the measures creating the Department of Disaster Resilience, the revising the National Building Code, and the passage of a Civil Conscription Law.

Makilala town is one of the badly-hit areas in Mindanao by two strong quakes that rocked the region last week.

Tolentino said there is a need to review the National Building Code as the existing one is already more than 40 years and no longer fits the requirements needed for the construction of high-rise establishments nowadays.

"[Yung] Building Code noong 1977 pa yun. Noong 1977, ang pinakamataas na building natin noon ay yung Philcomcen building sa Ortigas, 12 stories. Ang ating skyline noon ay Escolta, ang matataas na gusali noon ay six floors lang," he said.

"Ngayon sa Metro Manila, meron tayong 48 floors, meron tayong 42 stories at marami pang iba, so marami sigurong pagbabago na dapat ipatupad," he added.

Meanwhile, the Civil Conscription Law will require some concerned professionals to be on "active duty" to help in the emergency situation, Tolentino said.

"Kapag merong kalamidad, yung ating mga structural, civil engineers, yung ating mga medical personnel ay pwedeng i-call to active duty ng Sandatahang Lakas ng Pilipinas para makatulong."

While Tolentino is contented with the amount of help provided to the victims of the series of quakes, he nevertheless noted the lapses in disaster response and the lack of recovery plans.

"Ang nakikita ko dapat beyond 'duck, cover, and hold' na tayo, dapat nandun na tayo sa yugto na ang pinag-uusapan na natin kung papaano yung pagbangon," he said.

"Yung madaling pagbangon ng mga komunidad, paano uli sila makabalik sa kanilang mga sinasakahang lugar, yung mga munisipyo paano sila tumakbo muli... yun na siguro yung dapat nating maisakatuparan," he added.

At least 21 people from several regions in Mindanao have died as a result of the earthquakes last week, more than 400 were injured, and tow reported missing, according to a situation report by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council on Sunday.

The number of damaged infrastructure also rose from 28,224 as previously reported to 28,932. —Erwin Colcol/LBG, GMA News