Conformity to structural protocols should be forced upon all stakeholders and authorities who violate its enforcement will be meted life sentence, Senator Chiz Escudero proposed.

Escudero reiterated his call for a comprehensive review of the National Building Code through Senate Bill No. (SBN) 2843 to strengthen the state’s existing structural policy.

Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on environment and natural resources, said that the country had been through major weather disturbances, and structures and constructions in the country did not respond well to its natural impacts.

“There is no more escaping the reality of climate change, earthquakes, flashfloods, landslides and recent tragedies have shown that existing buildings where people thought they could seek refuge did not stand a chance against nature’s wrath; it even claimed lives.”

SBN 2843 directs the Departments of Interior and Local Government and the Public Works and Highways, and the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council to work with all local government units to initiate and conduct a comprehensive inspection of all buildings nationwide before building officials could issue Certificate of Inspection and Clearance in conformity with the by-laws of Presidential Decree 1096 or the National Building Code of the Philippines.

The senator said it was unfortunate that there had been building permits issued under questionable circumstances. “These fraudulent issuances have allowed faulty building constructions to the detriment of its occupants and those beside and around it.”

Building authorities who will commit fraud related to the issuance of permits, clearances and certifications shall face life imprisonment, absolute disqualification to hold office and permanent revocation of professional license.

“The provisions of building code were created to ensure the state’s responsibility to safeguard its people. This is a policy responsibility anchored on safety and hazard mitigation. It should be strictly enforced, rather than openly impeded by its own regulators” Escudero explained.