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At Large

Safety amid building frenzy

The construction industry is in the middle of a building frenzy. And as even a casual observer can confirm, buildings and infrastructure are sprouting all around the country.

All the more then that even as the building boom heats up, government must make sure that all the structures about to be started or under completion are not just visible symbols of progress and development, but will also stand the test of time and nature’s wrath.

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This important watchdog role lies with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Officials there are charged with ensuring that only safe, durable and usable building materials are used in the local construction industry, with materials required to pass through a welter of certification procedures that meet product standards.

Such stringent tests should serve to assure developers, contractors and future tenants that the structures will stand up to the rigors of time and natural calamities. Vigilance is key, as reports of substandard steel bars, cement and such materials surface.

Last April, the DTI laid down mandatory Product Standards for Flat Glass, in a department administrative order (DAO) that aims to strictly ensure that glass products such as flat glass used in buildings and other structures pass the government’s safety and quality requirements.

The DAO lays down specific safety and/or quality requirements, including DTI-prescribed technical regulations for mandatory Philippine Standard (PS) licensing procedures covering glass products and applied to locally produced and imported flat glass, heat-strengthened and fully tempered flat glass, laminated glass and bent glass.

To further ensure “safety, traceability and accountability,” the DAO requires that only glass products from manufacturing plants holding a valid PS quality and/or safety identification mark shall be distributed, sold and used in the country. Regular surveillance under existing DTI rules will be conducted to ensure compliance.

Only manufacturers who meet the product compliance requirements will be allowed by government to use the product certification mark. DTI-Bureau of Public Standards director engineer James Empeno stressed that “given that there is an increase in the number of building construction and repairs, it is only necessary for the department to address the safety, quality as well as traceability concerns of glass products that are sold in the market by once again proposing the mandatory certification of glass products.”

Thus, stakeholders in the construction industry have expressed confidence in the DTI, saying that regulations should go a long way in curbing the smuggling of cheap and low-quality counterfeit flat glass and other glass products, and encouraging DTI to strictly enforce the new rules.

You could say that soprano Rachelle Gerodias and her husband, baritone Byeong-in Park, exemplify Philippine-Korean relations. Their individual voices and dulcet duets show us not only that such an artistic union is possible, but also that such combined artistry can produce an uplifting experience.

The couple’s gifts were on full display at the recent “Korean War Memorial Peace Concert” held at the CCP to mark “The Year of Mutual Exchanges between the Philippines and the Republic of Korea.” This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between our two countries. The relations were sealed in blood with the participation of Filipino troops as part of the UN-sponsored forces sent to help defend democracy in the Korean War. A total of 112 Filipinos died in the Korean War and, next year, the world observes the 70th anniversary of this conflict.

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It was in honor of the surviving veterans of the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea that the concert was conceived, with a program marking the best of Korean and Filipino talent.

Providing the musical backdrop were the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and the Seocho Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of conductor Jong-hoon Bae. Special guests included Canadian trumpeter Jens Lindemann and the delightful Moon Yang Sook Gayageum Ensemble. The gayageum is a traditional Korean musical string instrument, with the ensemble proving its versatility with a selection of modern and traditional airs, including “Anak,” to the delight of the largely Filipino audience, and proving once more the durability of the ties between our two nations.

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TAGS: At Large, buiding boom, construction industry, construction materials, DTI, rina jimenez david
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