davao

REFLECTIONS: How do you bring back the feeling of safety and control?

November 3, 2019

We were in Magsaysay town (Davao del Sur), on our way to Tulunan (North Cotabato) to distribute food packs when the 6.5 earthquake this morning struck. It so happened we were in a stretch of road where there were several houses. We saw panicked women running out, dragging children behind them. A woman cried uncontrollably, tears and snivel flowing together. An old woman scraped her knee in her panic to get out. All of them were scampering to cross the street where no structures could fall on them and hurt them. The quake lasted for only a few seconds but it gave me a lifetime worth of lessons on how an earthquake could impact an individual and community. It’s unlike a typhoon which is forecasted, the details from strength of wind to speed and track are known beforehand. Earthquakes on the other hand you don’t know. And you also don’t know how many aftershocks if any would follow. In short you don’t know when it will start and when it will end. Even during distribution of food packs in Magbok, Tulunan, some mothers were tightly clutching their children’s hands, saying the children want to be near them when another quake occurs. Obviously the adults also want to be near the kids when the dreaded quake comes again. That feeling of not having control over what will happen, that sense of helplessness, are partly what makes earthquakes worse than most calamities. Many of those I spoke with said they now hardly sleep, ready to bolt to safety at the slightest tremor, real or imagined. The quake areas are now dotted with blue makeshift tents where people sleep, too afraid to stay inside their houses. Even our hotel has guests asleep on the sofas in the lobby. And throughout the day, people I was with would suddenly stop, fearfully gauging if the earth had moved again. Since then I have been asking myself: How best to help them? How do you bring back the feeling of safety and control? I wanted to hug the woman who cried so hard. She spoke in Cebuano and explained in between sobs her fears. I didn’t fully understand her words but I understood what she was saying.

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Another condo project of DMC-UPDI condemned

November 3, 2019

 Mayor Sara Duterte has issued an order to condemn the two buildings of the Palmetto Place, another project of property developer DMC Urban Property Developers Inc. (DMC-UPDI), in Barangay Maa here after they sustained major cracks on the structures following Thursday’s Magnitude 6.5 earthquake. In a statement issued by the City Information Office on Saturday evening, Duterte said inspectors found major cracks on the walls, beams, channels, and posts of Buildings 2 and 3 of the Palmetto Place. The mayor said residents voluntarily left after receiving notices to vacate from the Office of the Building Official. Duterte had also ordered a probe on the actions of the City Engineer's Office, Office of the City Building Official, and the Building Administrator's Office of Ecoland Residences 4000 in relation to the collapse of the five-story Himeji building when the Magnitude 6.5 quake struck. “At least one person was arrested for disobedience to a lawful order in relation to the operations at Ecoland 4000,” she said. She added search and rescue operation concluded on Thursday evening after rescuers found no trapped occupants on the second floor of the Himeji building, where nine occupants were injured after the first two levels collapsed. A day before its collapse, the City Engineer’s Office had given DMC-UPDI notice that the building was unsafe for occupancy and was to be condemned. At least 20 individuals were evacuated from the destroyed condominium tower, she said. No one was reported missing due to the powerful earthquake last week, she said. She added the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and local officials of the landslide prone barangays are conducting joint ground assessment. The mayor said that based on initial results,  the assessment team flagged Juario Village in Maa as a “danger zone,” and had advised residents of the village to evacuate immediately due to possible landslides. She said all bridges and roads in the city were inspected and have been declared safe. She said classes from kindergarten to post-graduate studies in public and private educational institutions will resume on Tuesday. “School authorities are mandated to spend November 4 as a day to thoroughly inspect school buildings, review earthquake action plan and disaster manual to ensure the safety of the students and employees,” she said. She said school authorities should conduct earthquake and fire drills at least once a month and provide students with experts who can discuss with them stress, trauma, and anxiety. 

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Mayor Sara to convene CDRRMC to discuss stricter standards on new buildings

November 1, 2019

Mayor Sara Duterte will meet the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) on Monday to discuss plans on strengthening the building requirements after a series of powerful earthquakes damaged infrastructures in Mindanao. Duterte said in an interview that members of the council will consider proposing stricter measures that will set standards on new buildings to make them withstand magnitude 7 and stronger earthquakes. Under the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, the CDRRMC is chaired by the mayor. Members include the heads of City Planning and Development Office, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, City Social Welfare and Development Office, City Health Office, City Agriculture Office, Gender and Development Office, City Engineering Office, City Veterinary Office, City Budget Office, the division head/schools superintendent, highest ranking military and police officials, city fire marshal, president of the Association of Barangay Captains, Philippine National Red Cross, four representatives from accredited civil society organizations, and one private sector representative. The mayor said there is also need to pass the proposed ordinance that seeks to regulate the height of the buildings and structures in the city. Based on the draft ordinance, the proposed measure indicates that the applicable zones for the premium height limit are the major commercial zones, high-density residential zone, and institutional zone. It will impose a higher regular building limit of 90 meters at the maximum for structures that will be built within the 500-meter radius from the boundary of railway station or intermodal transit station but 110 meters (about 33 stories) for structures in zones within identified major commercial zones, high-density residential zone, and institutional zone. The draft also says that the City Government may allow construction of a tower building that will serve as the city’s “tallest landmark postcard image” in Maa and Matina (zone 3) Bangkal (zone 9), and City Hall Complex to Bucana area (zone 10) with a height higher than the premium height limitation. But it should not exceed what the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has set as a limitations such as 72 to 162 meters (about 21 to 49 stories) for zone 3, 162 meters for zone 9, and 145 meters (about 44 stories) for zone 10. To be awarded with the privilege of building the tallest landmark in the city, the proposed law provides that the project’s design is unique and should bear semblance to or representation of the city’s culture and heritage; devote at least 50 percent of tis ground floor area accessible to the public and its summit must also be made accessible by the public for viewing purposes either for free or for a fee. It added the proposed law will serve as guide, control, and regulate future growth and development of the city; provide an orderly pattern of development that is both transit-oriented and transit responsive; conform to flight safety regulations and improve disaster-resilience; preserve view of cultural and heritage sites; promote and improve urban livability index such as better air quality, sufficient access to sunlight, open and green spaces and urban connectivity and mobility efforts; and provide incentives to the private sector in improving the build environment. Some of the existing tallest buildings in the city are the 33-story mixed-use condominium Aeon Tower, 37-story Vivaldi Residences, and twin-tower Avida (19-story tower 1 and 23-story tower 2). “We really need that ordinance not just for disasters but also for urban planning,” Duterte said.

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9 injured as five-story condo partially collapses in Davao

October 31, 2019

 Nine persons were injured but only one was rushed to the hospital when portions of five-story condominium collapsed during the Magnitude 6.5 earthquake that struck at 9:11 a.m. Thursday.  Capt. Nolan Tagsip, spokesperson of the Davao City Police Office, said eight sustained minor injuries and were treated in an onsite ambulance while one was rushed to the hospital due to a laceration wound on the head.  Tagsip said the Himeji Building of the Ecoland Residence 4000 along Ecoland Drive has 56 units but only an estimated 15 units were occupied when the quake happened.  Most of the unit owners had abandoned the building following the Magnitude 6.6 quake at 9:04 a.m. two days earlier, on Tuesday. The quake then registered Intensity 6 in Davao City.  It is not clear how many occupants managed to get out of the building and how many are still trapped inside. Nine persons, however, have been accounted for as “injured.”  Paul Dumlao returned to his Unit 502 on Thursday morning to get some things after Wednesday’s quake forced him and other unit owners to “self abandon” what he said was a structurally unsound building.  “We didn’t trust the integrity of the structure,” said Dumlao, who has lived in that unit for about a decade now. He said they noticed cracks in the five-story building after the October 16 Magnitude 6.3 and more after the October 29 Magnitude 6.6 quake, and had in fact reported them to the management.  But safety engineers of the DM Consunji Inc., Dumlao said, repeatedly told them the building was safe.  The City Engineer’s Office, however, gave notice to the building’s owner on Wednesday that it is already not safe for occupancy and that it should be condemned. Dale John Llanario of Unit 413 said he was roused from sleep by the quake but he and his companions could not get out of the unit because the door got stuck between debris from walls that had collapsed.  He said they broke open some windows to get out of the building.  The city’s 911 responders were quick to reach the area that police immediately cordoned off. Also among the first to arrive was Mayor Sara Duterte, later followed by siblings Paolo, 1st district representative, and Sebastian, the city’s vice mayor.  The police identified the “rescued wounded” as Catley Ubas, 27 (head injury); Naser Inog, 27 (minor injury on right hand); Baswil Ledya (minor hand injury); Park Jung O, a Korean national, 61 (minor head injury); Christian Vicente; Ledy A. Notarte, 60 (head injury). “Death and/or Missing is not yet determined. Rescue Teams are still conducting rescue operations. Six vehicles were destroyed,” the DCPO progress report “re collapse of Ecoland 4000 condo” as of 11:30 a.m. said.

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Duterte's house suffers minor cracks

October 31, 2019

The residence of President Rodrigo R. Duterte sustained minor cracks after the magnitude 6.5 earthquake that struck parts of Mindanao Thursday morning, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said on Thursday. Go, Duterte’s former aide who was later appointed as special assistant to President, told reporters in an interview that the cracks were seen at the ceiling of the President’s bedroom on the second floor at his house in Doña Luisa Subdivision in Matina. He said the President was in his comfort room when the earthquake struck, the third major tremor that hit mainly North Cotabato in two weeks. Go said the President was safe after the earthquake. He added that Duterte would push through with his scheduled trip to Thailand on Friday to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit despite the destructive earthquake. “Don’t worry about our President because he’s safe,” the senator said. Go said they had Duterte’s 25-year-old house checked by an engineer to check its stability. He pointed out that the President’s residence is old, originally a one-story house. Duterte later added a second floor, but Go hinted that the house’s structure was probably designed for only one floor. 

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Alvarez to convene meeting on ‘People’s Initiative for Federal Constitution’

October 26, 2019

After several failed attempts in Congress, proponents of the shift to a federal system of government, are now pushing for people’s initiative as the mode to effect that change. Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, Speaker of the House of Representatives from June 30, 2016 to June 30, 2018, is convening a meeting in Cagayan de Oro City on Sunday, October 27, with leaders, including members of the now defunct Consultative Committee (ConCom) that President Rodrigo Duterte created last year to review the 1987 Constitution and propose amendments towards a shift to federalism. The October 27 meeting was mentioned in the eulogy for former ConCom member and former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel, Jr., by Reuben Canoy, former ConCom member and like Pimentel, a former Cagayan de Oro City mayor.  The eulogy was written by Canoy and read by his daughter Rhona at the necrological service for Pimentel in Cagayan de Oro on Thursday evening. Pimentel and Canoy had been pushing for a federal form of government for half a century. “This Sunday, October 27, 2019, at the instance of former House Speaker Congressman Pantaleon ‘Bebot’ Alvarez of Davao del Norte, we are scheduled to meet here in Cagayan de Oro with our (ConCom) Chairman, former Chief Justice Reynato Puno,” Canoy said, adding that “Cong. Alvarez convened a group of governors and congressmen on his proposal to launch a People’s Initiative for a Federal Constitution.. Nene should have been part of this important meeting.” Asked if Sunday’s meeting in Cagayan de Oro is the launching of the “people’s initiative,” Alvarez told MindaNews in a text message: “discussion and consultation pa lang with some leaders.” Canoy said Pimentel’s death is considered by some as a setback to the federalism efforts but “God has a purpose for all of us, and every event has a meaning.” He added that instead of weakening the federal movement, Pimentel’s death has “aroused public sentiment and strengthened our resolve to carry out the historic political change that must be made now -- or the Philippines will remain forever mired in systemic problems that none of our leaders have been able to solve since we became a republic 73 years ago.” Pimentel was dubbed “Father of Local Government Code” as principal author of the landmark legislation to empower local governments within the framework of a Presidential, unitary system under the then newly-ratified 1987 Constitution.  During the campaign for the 2016 Presidential polls, then candidate Rodrigo Duterte pushed for the shift to a federal system of government. The shift however, can be done only if the 1987 Constitution is amended. Canoy noted that in Pimentel’s view, empowering the local governments through federalism “would enable the regions to develop themselves, and the nation’s economy to prosper by leaps and bounds -- to the point of eradicating poverty, the root cause of drugs, lawlessness, corruption and rebellion.” “When this happens, our country will have entered a golden age of peace and progress. In gratitude, many will look back and ask the names of those who made it possible,” he said. The ConCom in its recommendations to President Duterte in July last year, proposed the creation of 18 federated regions with powers to impose taxes and generate their own revenues. The ConCom said the “least disruptive transition” would be to stick to the present regional configuration of 17 administrative regions plus the Negrosanon Federated Region in Negros including Siquijor. Of the 18 federated regions, 16 would be symmetrical and two asymmetrical – the Bangsamoro and Cordillera regions. Concom senior technical assistant and spokesperson Ding Generoso in July last year explained that the  Bangasamoro and Cordillera have different designs from other regions because of their “identity-based demands.” The federated regions will have a regional governor, deputy regional governor and a regional legislative assembly. The 1987 Constitution provides for three ways to amend or revise the Constitution: Constitutional Convention, Congress convening as a constituent assembly or People’s Initiative.. Section 2 of Article XVII states that amendments “may likewise be directly proposed by the people through initiative upon a petition of at least twelve per centum of the total number of registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least three per centum of the registered voters therein.” The provision adds that “Congress shall provide for the implementation of the exercise of this right. In July last year, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, said the House of Representatives cannot use the people’s initiative option to amend the Constitution because a law must be enacted first in order to implement this provision. 

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