Baguio City Council, in a resolution, has requested the City Buildings and Architecture Office (CBAO) to carry out the recommendations of the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers (PICE) Baguio Chapter to ensure the structural safety of the burnt area of the Baguio City Public Market.
Councilor Mylen Yaranon said ensuring the safety in the area by undertaking remediation is necessary in order to avoid injury or loss of life.

Last March 31, the structural committee of PICE Baguio Chapter submitted its inspection report and recommendations on the structural integrity of the burnt area of the market to the City Mayor’s Office. Among the recommendations were the following: strengthening or supporting the warped decking by bracing its underside with steel sections; conducting tests to validate actual load carrying capacity and concrete strength; covering the slabs to discourage trespassing and prevent ponding from water seepage; and continuous monitoring of the structure for any sign of deformation.

No occupancy was recommended for the hazardous section of the building while limited occupancy was recommended for the critical section until further tests confirm structural integrity. The dismantling and replacement of the slab system was also recommended as a long-term solution in both cases. The members of the PICE Structural Committee proposed in their report that they will
supervise the testing of structural elements and to update the City Mayor’s Office of the results of the testing.

At the moment, the ground floor of the building is being occupied by the vendors. PICE Baguio Chapter President Richard Pascua said the ground floor is secure as long as the second floor is not loaded. According to City Administrator Bonifacio Dela Pena, the second floor is currently unused and people are prevented from entering the area to avoid pressure in the suspended slab. Dela Pena mentioned that aside from the recommendations of PICE Baguio Chapter, waterproofing and roofing will also be undertaken in preparation for the rainy season.

He said that all measures being employed at the moment are short-term solutions for the purpose of normalizing the operation of the city market. However, the entire existing structure will have to be eventually demolished and rebuilt since retrofitting it will be costly, he stressed. Yaranon further requested CBAO to look for a safer relocation site for vendors situated at the Block 4 Building while all these short-term safety measures are being undertaken. Meanwhile, Market Superintendent Cesar Emilio said all the 1,572 affected vendors have been provided with makeshift stalls that are situated on the first floor of Block 4 Building, third floor of the Rillera Building, and along Hilltop Rd.

SP/Jordan G. Habbiling


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