By Samantha L. Colinco
A church designed to withstand typhoons and earthquakes will be constructed in Bohol out of container vans, a member of the Silliman University administration said.
Vice-president for Development Jane Annette Belarmino said the project is part of the university’s Continuing Calamity Response Program (CCRP), which was created as an answer to the increasing incidents of natural disasters in the country.
“There is no target date yet for the start of the construction but it is a commitment of the university to build a church. We want to help congregations of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines in Bohol,” she added.
Last year in October, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Central Visayas with Bohol province identified as the most affected area.
Belarmino said they chose to build the church using shipping containers, also locally known as container vans, because they are made of steel and are therefore stronger and more durable compared to concrete.
She added that part of the building design is to create a cement foundation where the containers can be then bolted to the ground.
“During earthquakes, concrete can break apart and fall on people. Steel-made container vans may shake but they will not crumble and hurt anyone,” she said.
Belarmino also added that they are considering constructing university buildings from container vans in the future as part of the CCRP.
“Can you just imagine if buildings are not calamity resistant? We will be wasting a lot of money repairing them when a disaster strikes, especially since we are near the sea,” she said.
Last Jan. 7, three container vans arrived from Manila and were placed on the parking lot between the Ausejo Hall and the Nutrition and Dietetics (ND) building. They will be converted into additional classrooms for the ND department.
However, this will not be the first container van building for SU. Faculty and staff houses located across the Roman T. Yap Hall (at the ballfield) are also made out of container vans.
According to Belarmino, the idea came from SU President Ben S. Malayang III as part of his advocacy to prepare the university for more frequent natural calamities in the future.
“The idea of creating buildings using container vans is not new. It has been around except that we are only seeing more of it now because we have an environmentalist for a president. So, usually this kind of idea is realized only when the need arises,” she said.