A RESPECTED Filipino architect and urban planner is urging the government to adopt building codes and regulations that would take into account health and safety concerns.
At the Global Forum on Research and Innovation for Health organized by the Switzerland-based Council on Health Research for Development (COHRED) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) last week, architect Felino Palafox Jr. underlined in his presentation the need to incorporate health concerns into urban planning.
The architect expressed his optimism that more governments including the Philippines would incorporate health, safety and environmental concerns into their building codes and regulations to ensure a healthy urban environment for their populations.
Palafox has designed “healthcare cities” in various locations such as Dubai and Saudi Arabia. He is also one of the leading proponents of green buildings in the Philippines.
Palafox noted that there is still much work to be done in the Philippines in terms of ensuring healthy urban environments and preparedness for natural cataclysmic events.
According to the architect, one of the major problems that the country faces is the growing problem of congestion in some cities.
Citing a Harvard study, he said Metro Manila is the fastest-growing metropolis in the world with a population increase of 60 persons per hour due mainly to the migration of people from the underdeveloped rural areas into the capital region.
To solve that problem, Palafox proposes that new cities should be created to be able to accommodate the growing population.
“We either add more people to the congested cities, or build new cities to accommodate the growing population,” said the architect.
The architect also strongly advocates for increased preparedness in the country’s healthcare infrastructure.
According to recently publicized disaster scenario figures, casualties are estimated to reach up to 50,000 while the seriously injured would reach 130,000 in the event of a magnitude 7.2 earthquake striking the metropolis.
Palafox stressed the primacy of vigilance over the ability to deal with casualties and injured survivors.
“It is 90 percent less costly to address the known hazards than to attempt to deal with the rehabilitation,” said the architect.