Batanes homes to comply with building code after tremors

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 12 2019 12:17 PM

MANILA – Some houses in Batanes toppled by strong tremors late last month will be rebuilt in compliance with the national building code, the province’s governor, Marilou Cayco, said Monday.

Scores of Batanes’ treasured limestone houses were toppled after strong tremors with magnitudes ranging between 3.2 and 5.9 struck the province’s Itbayat town last July 27.

Cayco said July’s strong quake was the first to hit Itbayat in recent memory.

“Noong araw wala kaming lindol na ganyan. Kung makikita mo ang mga bumagsak na bahay walang bakal, dahil ang pinaghahandaan ay bagyo,” the governor told radio dzMM.

(We’ve never experience quakes as strong as that. If you will see the toppled houses, they have no steel reinforcements, because these were built with storms in mind.)

Cayco said in the wake of the quakes, the national building code will be followed during the town’s rebuilding efforts.

Limestone, the island's primary construction material, can be eroded by water over time, making structures unable to withstand even weak tremors, said Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum.

Authorities said some of the 9 dead, including 2 babies under a year old, were crushed by the walls of their own homes. The quakes damaged 290 infrastructures in Itbayat.

Batanes is pounded every year by tropical cyclones and homes are built of stone to survive the annual onslaught.