Friday, September 29, 2006

Deus irae

AFTER Howler Milenyo raked across the megalopolis leaving a trail of debris and death, well-meaning lawmakers summoned God in a closed-door hearing. Maybe grilling. Whatever reasons lie behind so-called “acts of God” have to be made clear.

Lawmakers turned dour and sour at the sight of fallen trees crushing cars and hurting people in them. Too, streets turned awash with retted tree leaves and broken boughs—eyesores and traffic hazards these. And a lot of woes for trash collectors. God got away with mayhem and murder when those God-made trees were erected.

Lawmakers have boned themselves on the National Building Code, more so on certain provisions that call for soundness and integrity of structures given permits to be erected in the megalopolis. Those culprit trees are more than usual suspects.

It was suspected that God must have bribed a lot of people or twisted a lot of arms in the permits and licensing offices of local government units. If not, how could He have been allowed to put up structures hereabouts with substandard materials?

The tell-tale signs are there and could be swallowed in any civil court as prima facie evidence. Those postcard-pretty fixtures called trees plopped down at the height of the howler.

Divine handiwork ought to comply with the strictest standards set forth in the existing building code. Pertinent provisions of the code have to be hammered into God’s brain, if He has any.

Say, trees have to withstand intensity 10 temblors on the Richter scale. Like bridges, tree boughs ought to bear both vertical and horizontal pressures of up to 30 tons before toppling like a giant billboard. And those leaves and branchlets need to be firmed up—so that gale-force winds of up to 200 kph would hardly stir ‘em tree parts.

In addition, allowable contraction and expansion of tree parts caused by extremes of heat and humidity should be at a millionth of a millimeter per 100 degrees Celsius drop or rise in temperature.

To err is human, yes. That ought to explain why a lot of those giant billboards infesting major thoroughfares were toppled by a howler’s 130 kph wind blasts. That should quash any argument why rain-soaked concrete walls can come crashing down.

Let’s credit such fiascoes and casualties resulting therefrom to a lapse in structural engineering. Indeed, to err is human and lapses in sound judgment in construction of eyesores, claptraps and death traps ought to be forgiven.

No comments: