This article was updated on June 5, 2015, 7:58 pm.
The Ateneo de Manila University has moved the start of classes for some of its grade levels to give way to the retrofitting of three buildings located near the West Valley Fault (WVF) as said in a statement by University President Jose Ramon T. Villarin yesterday.
Ateneo’s Junior High School, Grade 7 and 8, will have its first day of classes on June 15, a week later than initially planned. The schedule for Grades 3 to 6 has also been moved to August 3.Unaffected by the retrofitting are classes in Grades 1 and 2.
The decision seems to be a precautionary move following the release of detailed large-scale maps by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) three weeks ago pointing to the areas that could be badly hit in case a strong earthquake rocks Metro Manila. The maps identified a few buildings inside the Ateneo campus to be situated near the fault line.
As previously stated by Villarin in 2013, the school has taken measures to ensure the structural integrity of its buildings. “Among these was the conduct of structural audit and geological testing of the buildings closest to the WVF, done by certified structural consultants from March 2014 to May 2015,” said the memo.
David Hall, Fermin Hall and Pacquing Hall specifically are being retrofitted in accordance with the 2010 National Structural Code of the Philippines. Students occupying these buildings will be relocated, and if needed, will be “provided with pre-fabricated modular air-conditioned classrooms”. Other offices will also be temporarily relocated.
In a continuing effort for disaster preparedness, the school also plans to increase the frequency of emergency drills for its Grade School and Junior High School communities. Parents have also been invited to attend a session on June 10 to discuss safety measures stemming from concerns regarding the West Valley Fault (see the announcement here).
“As we have been doing for several years now, we shall keep working to streamline and integrate disaster risk education as part of our strategic thrust on environment and development, not just for our own but for our country as well,” said Villarin.
Know more about the West Valley Fault and the dangers it poses here.