IN the wake of the series of earthquakes that hit Metro Manila and other parts of the country on Monday, a House leader has renewed his call for an organized and comprehensive audit of all government and private infrastructures to assess and ensure their structural integrity.
“Doing so at the soonest possible time will prevent loss of lives and limbs,” said Quezon City Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo, chairman of the House committee on Metro Manila development.
Castelo urged all government agencies concerned such as the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to act collectively on the matter.
“It is imperative that we immediately determine which buildings in our midst are in danger of falling when we’re hit by an earthquake because they are definitely places of deadly accidents waiting to happen,” said Castelo.
Last year, Castelo filed a joint resolution seeking to create two bodies – one to perform an initial inventory and audit of government buildings and other infrastructure and another to assess their structural integrity.
Castelo said the first team will be composed of auditors from the Commission on Audit (CoA), a representative from the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants, a member of Congress, engineers from government agencies with infrastructure projects and the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers (PICE), a representative from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
“The team’s task is to audit and evaluate all infrastructure contracts, bidding processes for each, and actual project implementation – with priority projects in the last 20 years,” said Castelo. It will look for any irregularities that could signal graft and corruption and potential substandard construction. Any irregularity in whatever stage of the project should be deemed a “red flag” that could mean the construction may have been below standard and therefore the structural integrity may have been compromised,” said Castelo.