Buying a house? Consult a geologist first
MANILA - People who are planning to buy or build a new house should make it a practice to consult a geologist first, according to an expert.
In an interview with "Mornings @ ANC" on Wednesday, Dr. Carlo Arcilla of the University of the Philippines - National Institute of Geological Sciences (UP-NIGS) said Filipinos should make it a priority not just to consult a feng shui expert but also a geologist.
"We don't have that hazard sort of like mentality. People will pay feng shui artists first, they will not hire geologists... When you buy a t-shirt in Divisoria, you look if there are holes. If you are going to invest your lifetime in a house, why can't you double-check?" Arcilla said.
"I have nothing wrong against feng shui, but the thing is that it's like when your child is sick, you want to see a scientist," he explained.
He also said that before buying a property or lot, "see your property in the worst weather" first.
He said this is to see if the certain location is prone to floods or landslides.
"It's like choosing a partner. You have to see the good and the bad," he said.
Use GPS, maps
Arcilla said a GPS or global positioning system may also come in handy when looking for a prospective property. He said one does not need to be tech-savvy to be able to use GPS and that even mobile phones have it.
"Why is a GPS important? Because when you buy a property, the biggest fraud sometimes is that what you're being shown is not actually what you will get. So you independently verify where the location of the property you're going to buy is."
He said upon getting the coordinates of the property, one can then check the website of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) "to see whether your house is near a major fault."
Arcilla, however,admitted that as much as Filipinos don't have the habit of consulting geologists, they also don't have the habit of using maps.
"One of the problems Filipinos have is that we are not very map-conscious. People don't use maps; they ask 'Nasaan ba dito yung street?' We rarely use maps," he said.
What happens if quake hits Metro Manila?
Meanwhile, Arcilla warned residents in Metro Manila to retrofit their buildings for a strong earthquake, noting that it is hard to predict when the "big one" will come.
A magnitude 7.2 quake hit Visayas Tuesday morning, leaving at least 107 people dead. The massive quake was triggered by the movement of the East Bohol Fault.
What will happen if a similar quake hits Metro Manila and nearby provinces?
"I'm confident for big parts of Metro Manila, things will survive unless if you're built on the top of a fault line, there's no engineering solution," Arcilla explained.
He also said structures built on reclaimed land are at a higher risk.
He said developers should not be allowed to put up structures on top of fault lines while warnings should be placed outside buildings already sitting on fault lines.
"If a building is built on top of the fault, there has to be a sign outside the building that this building is built on a fault, buy at our own risk," Arcilla said.
"Because if you build your own house, it is your own risk. But if it is already public conveyance, the people go into let's say a supermarket, a hospital or a school that's on the fault, then there is a public safety issue," he added.