Senator Raffy Tulfo on Wednesday urged the government to inspect and retrofit hospitals in the danger zones as part of preparations for a possible catastrophic earthquake or the "Big One.”
During a Senate committee hearing, Tulfo said among the hospitals in the danger zone or earthquake-vulnerable areas are the Philippine General Hospital, Quirino Memorial Medical Center, Philippine Heart Center, San Lazaro Hospital and Medical Center, National Children’s Hospital, Amang Rodriguez Medical Center, East Avenue Medical Center, Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center, and Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital.
“Yung ospital, pagkatapos ng earthquake [dadalhin diyan] ang mga casualties at sugatan. Ngayon kung 'yan ay magigiba just imagine saan pa dadalhin ang mga sugatan,” he said.
(The casualties and wounded people will be brought to the hospital after the earthquake. Now, imagine if those hospitals will collapse, where will the wounded patients be taken?)
“Ano po ang ginagawa ng mga authoridad sa ospital na ito, have we done something? Did we contact the authorities, so far what have you done?,” he asked.
(What are the authorities doing with the hospitals, have we done something? Did we contact the authorities? So far what have you done?)
Public Works and Highways Secretary Manuel Bonoan said they have inspected over 5,000 public buildings in Metro Manila, including several health facilities and major hospitals.
“I can share actually the efforts of the DPWH with regard to inspection of public buildings in NCR, we have inspected 5,980 public buildings in Metro Manila and including 351 health facilities and some of them are the major hospitals,” he said.
“Kasama po 'yung iba [sa na-inspect na] and undergoing pa 'yung iba (We have inspected some hospitals and the inspection is still ongoing). 'Pag mayroon kaming nakita na (When we see that it) it needs to be retrofitted and then we will undertake the retaliating design and some of them are actually retrofitted. We are programming the available funds,” he added.
Asked if there are hospitals needed to be demolished or to move to a safer place, Bonoan said: “Wala pa kaming nakita (We have yet to see one) that needs to be demolished actually, but some of them need to be retrofitted.”
“You can come to us for support tutulong sa inyo sa Kongreso, sa Senado mabigyan kayo ng budget para doon sa retrofitting sa mga hospital, eskwelahan, at residential houses,” Tulfo said.
(You can come to us for support, we will help you in Congress, in the Senate to give you a budget for retrofitting hospitals, schools, and residential houses.)
Meanwhile, urban planner and architect Felino Palafox reported that an estimated 50,000 people will get killed due to the possible strong quake or the “Big One.”
“50,000 people will get killed [of the] 2004 population ng Metro Manila. Then if I remember it right, more than 10% of low rise buildings, [while] 3% high rise buildings [will be affected] kasi 'yung high rise buildings gumawa ng wind tunnel analysts, earthquake analysts,” he said.
Palafox said around hundreds of thousands of residents will be affected.
“The injured of 2004 population from the 2004 earthquake [will be] 113,600 persons, [this was] 2004 report, so we need more hospitals and evacuation areas,” he said.
The architect said among those people who will be greatly affected are the “poorest of the poor” population.
Tulfo also urged the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to coordinate with the experts in conducting retrofitting on the possible affected areas.
“Makipag-ugnayan kayo, tatanungin ano ang mga lugar, bahay-bahay, sasabihin sa'yo ng eksperto and then you go to that area at doon kayo gagawa ng programang retrofitting at kung walang budget humingi kayo sa gobyerno tutulong ang Kongreso, tutulong kami sa Senado para mapangalagaan ang kapakanan nitong mahihirap nating kababayan,” he added.
(You coordinate with the experts, ask what the areas are, house by house, the expert will tell you and then you must go that area and you conduct retrofitting program and if there is no budget, you ask the government for help, the Congress will help, we will help in the Senate to take care of the welfare of our vulnerable countrymen.)
Meanwhile, Senator Bong Revilla also directed the DPWH to monitor projects in order to avoid the use of substandard materials.
“Sa DPWH, Secretary Bonoan, 'yan ang dapat binabantay natin 'yung mga substandard projects. 'Yung quality ng proyekto nagsusuffer. Kaya 'yan ang dapat binabantayan ninyo,” Revilla said.
(DPWH secretary Bonoan, that is what we should be watching for, the substandard projects. The quality of the project is suffering. So that's what you should monitor.)
For his part, Bonoan said they are ensuring the structural integrity of the infrastructure projects under the DPWH.
“We have been ensuring the structural integrity of all the infrastructure projects that we have to undertake under the DWPH. That is why under my watch, I have been trying to emphasize kailangan nating bantayan lahat 'yung isinasagawa nating infrastructure projects especially those that are structurally vulnerable to calamities,” he added.—AOL, GMA Integrated News