THE House Committee on Public Works and Highways approved the proposed measure for the new Philippine Building Act (PBA) and the proposed 30-year National Infrastructure Program (NIP).
Panel chairman and Surigao del Sur 1st District Rep. Romeo S. Momo Sr. said his committee approved the committee of these landmark legislations last week.
Momo called for the immediate passage of the PBA as “it is badly needed” due to catastrophes in the Philippines and the world.
The lawmaker said that the recommendations and positions of stakeholders “have been carefully considered in order to make sure that we have a well-crafted bill that will cater to all sectors’ concerns, for the common good.”
“This consolidated and updated bill of the proposed PBA will aid our country in adapting into our next normal, aiming for resilience, agility and sustainability,” Momo said.
The lawmaker added that the proposal will provide for the minimum standards for the regulation of location, planning, design, construction, occupancy, maintenance, and demolition of buildings, the establishment of a permitting process based on their classifications and the setting of reference standards to safeguard life, ensure health and well-being of the people, protect property and reduce and manage hazards, exposures and vulnerabilities thus minimizing disaster risk
The substitute bill for the proposed PBA is a consolidation of House Bills (HBs) 815, 1180, 1205, 1207, 1409, 2392, 3442, 3686 and 7218.
It also wants the formation of a National Building Office to issue and promulgate rules, approve changes on the standards, issue appropriate orders, such as cease and desist and demolition, and appoint local building officials and Regional Building Appeals Board.
Earlier, the lawmaker bemoaned the current National Building Code, which was promulgated in 1977, as he cited the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Turkiye and Syria last month, as well as the Philippines’ own vulnerability to natural disasters.
MEANWHILE, Bulacan 6th District Rep. Salvador Pleyto said the NIP’s substitute bill aims “to provide the roadmap for the systematic development of our national infrastructure system for the next 30 years.”
This bill has been aligned to the policies and programs of the new Philippine development plan for 2023 up to 2028 as approved by NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority) and President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. himself, according to Pleyto.
“It also provides the long-term framework that will seamlessly interconnect our medium and annual infrastructure programs and therefore provide for continuity in its infrastructure development across different administrations,” the lawmaker added in his speech.
In Momo’s explanatory note on the proposed NIP, he highlighted the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent spate of typhoons and flooding that affected the country.
“The adverse effects of the Covid pandemic, coupled with the recent spate of destructive typhoons and floods that struck the country, further highlight the need for longer-range, resilient, and high-impact engineering projects that will more effectively address major disruptive events, while complementing immediate emergency responses,” he wrote.
The 30-year program, the lawmaker added, would “ensure continuity in the development and implementation of the projects in the program, notwithstanding changes in national leadership.”
HB 1975 identified the the core national infrastructure projects: transport and logistics infrastructure (road transport, metropolitan and urban road and expressway systems); rail and other mass transport (long-haul rail systems, urban commuter rail systems, urban bus transit systems); ports; and airports (Mega Manila airport systems and regional airports), among others.