by Rio N. Araja
[ manilastandardtoday.com ] December 22, 2011
TO PREVENT a repeat of two major fires that killed scores of people years ago, the Quezon City government on Wednesday vowed to beef up the inspection of over 3,000 buildings in the city.
Isagani Verzosa, city building official, said they have intensified the inspection of large popular chains of malls and supermarkets, and other medium-rise and high-rise buildings in Quezon City.
He said the city government has a pool of over 100 licensed engineers and architects making the rounds daily.
“We do not want to be blamed if another major fire tragedy, such as that of the Ozone disco club’s or the Manor Hotel’s, because of the gross negligence of the building official to ensure the structural integrity of our buildings here,” he told the Manila Standard.
He said they have hired civil engineers who are graduates of the University of the Philippines, Mapua Institute of Technology, Technological Institute of the Philippines, University of Sto. Tomas, and University of the Philippines to professionalize their department.
“Did you know that one of the engineers who inspected the structural integrity and fire safety of the Ozone club was an ophthalmologist? We do not want such a thing to happen again,” he said.
He said he has instructed his personnel to prioritize the inspection of old buildings put up several decades ago, big shopping malls and supermarkets, and other populated business establishments.
He said even the city government’s P2-billion to P3-billion infrastructure projects are not spared from their stringent inspection.
“Government projects also pass through us,” he added.
He said they have ensured that city inspectors could not be bribed by building owners and administrators.
A major fire struck the Ozone disco club shortly after midnight of March 18, 1996, killing 162 people.