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Former senator Anna Dominique “Nikki” Marquez-Lim Coseteng has been campaigning against the use of quench-tempered (QT) or thermo-mechanically treated (TMT) steel bars in high-rise buildings in the Philippines. She is leading a group of public safety advocates who revealed that this weaker type of steel bars is being used in buildings in the country over the last 12 years.

During a press conference at Annabel’s Restaurant in Quezon City, Metro Manila on March 31, 2018, Coseteng, structural engineer Engr. Emilio Morales and Atty. Rodel Taton of the Consumer Union of the Philippines discussed the issue with the media. They claimed that steel manufacturers and structural engineers are aware that QT or TMT steel bars are not supposed to be used in high-rise buildings particularly in areas that are highly vulnerable to earthquakes, such as Metro Manila.

Nikki Coseteng

It is cheaper to produce QT or TMT steel bars than the micro-alloy types, which were traditionally used in the Philippines. But when the Big One comes, high-rise buildings erected using QT or TMT steel bars will not be able to survive, international studies have proven.

Still, steel manufacturers and structural engineers are deliberately not informing the public about this so Coseteng and her group are calling on concerned government agencies to investigate the matter. All cities and municipalities should be required by the Department of Interior of Local Government (DILG) to conduct an inventory of all existing high-rise buildings that have been built from 2006 to present, according to the former senator.

“We are exposing this as this is dangerous and economically debilitating for our country with the fact that it has been kept secret from us,” Coseteng stated. She added that the public deserves to know how dangerous the problem is.

Coseteng went on to say President Rodrigo Duterte may be the solution to this problem. As the former senator implied, the perennially controversial Filipino leader can prohibit things simply by his commands.

With the timing of the exposé, it is inevitable for rumors about Coseteng’s political plans to arise. However, the former senator declared that she has no plan to run during the Philippine presidential election in 2022.
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