Duterte wants quality of hollow blocks checked after recent strong quakes

Duterte wants quality of hollow blocks checked after recent strong quakes

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte wants hollow blocks included in the list of products with mandatory certification after the country was hit by earthquakes in recent weeks that caused some buildings to collapse and damage to properties.

At a Cabinet meeting, Duterte raised concerns over the quality of hollow blocks in the market, noting many small makers likely do not follow standard processes and specifications needed in production, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

“The quality of any building structure depends not only on the product standards, but also on the quality of the construction job, particularly on adherence to approved structural design and the Building Code, required steel density, cement mixtures, among others,” Lopez said in a statement.

The Philippines lies on the so-called "Ring of Fire," where many quakes and volcanic eruptions occur.

Last week, two strong earthquakes struck North Cotabato in Mindanao, taking the lives of 21 people and affecting 52,195 families, the country’s disaster monitoring agency reported.

According to Lopez, Duterte also ordered all local government units and contractors to ensure that all materials used in any construction activity passed quality standards, or their licenses as contractors may be revoked.

“Likewise, contractors of government projects that use uncertified materials will not be paid and their contracts will be terminated,” the trade chief said.