Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje is urging a review of the Building Code of the Philippines in light of growing public concerns on the impacts of geologic hazards on the structural integrity of various infrastructures, including residential houses and buildings, in the country.

“The series of strong earthquakes that jolted Japan, Haiti, Chile, and New Zealand should give us an impetus to go revisit our Building Code to determine if it already needs some updating,” Paje said.

At the same time, Paje directed the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) to work for the full integration of Engineering Geological and Geohazard Assessment Report (EGGAR) into the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) System required under Presidential Decree No. 1586.

“Following the Cherry Hills landslides in August 1999, the DENR responded by issuing DENR Administrative Order No. 2000-28, to address the possible effects or impacts of geologic hazards on people’s lives and properties,” Paje said.

DAO 2000-28 sets forth the implementing guidelines on engineering geological and geohazard assessment as additional requirement for ECC applications covering subdivision, housing, and other land development and infrastructure projects.

This time, Paje stressed, EGGAR shall be considered a basic requirement especially for development projects located in areas prone to landslides and flooding, and those near faultlines and volcanoes.

Relative to this, Paje urged national government agencies and local government units using the Building Code as basis in the approval of land development projects to ensure that recommendations in the EGGAR are properly implemented and complied with during the construction phase.

The Philippines is naturally prone to various geologic and natural hazards like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and major mass movements because of its geographic, geologic and tectonic setting. It straddles the western fringes of the Pacific Ring of Fire where most of strong earthquakes occur.