FORMER agriculture chief Emmanuel F. Piñol is pushing for the nationwide construction of dome-shaped structures that can withstand strong typhoons, which was piloted in Cagayan province in 2018 primarily as a farm input warehouse.  

“Given the experience we had with the destruction wrought by Typhoon Odette, I believe that the Monolithic Dome Program should be embraced by the national government, including the local government units, in designing the new buildings which would be built after the destruction,” Mr. Piñol, who is running for the Senate next year, said in a statement. 

“The first monolithic dome constructed by a Filipino company with Polish engineers as consultants and could withstand Typhoon Signal 5,” he said.

A tropical wind signal #5 has winds greater than 220 kilometers per hour and is the highest category under state weather bureau PAGASA’s warning system. Typhoon Odette, internationally known as Rai, reached signal #4 as it neared Philippine landmass on Dec. 15.   

The first monolithic dome along with six other smaller versions cost P12 million, according to Mr. Piñol. These were built across the Cagayan Valley Region, one of the main producers of rice and corn.  

The former agriculture secretary said the program was supposed to be expanded to other typhoon-prone regions, including Eastern and Western Visayas, Bicol, Calabarzon and Mindoro province, Central Luzon, Ilocos, and Cordillera. 

Mr. Piñol resigned as head of the Agriculture department in June 2019, following corruption allegations for which he has since been cleared and other controversies over his handling of issues. President Rodrigo R. Duterte kept him under a Cabinet-level post, appointing him as chair of the Mindanao Development Authority in August that year. — Maya M. Padillo