Gov’t Seeks To Build Over 200 Evacuation Centers This Year

The Duterte government is targeting the building of more than 200 disaster-resilient evacuation centers this year to accommodate displaced individuals in times of calamity, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said.

To date, around 114 evacuation centers have already been established under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte, DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said in a weekly economic briefing held at Malacañan Palace.

Villar said in 2020 alone, the current administration seeks to build more evacuation centers that will withstand strong typhoons and earthquakes.

He said the government’s plan was to build two evacuation centers in every province.

The DPWH chief added the number of evacuation centers that will be constructed could go up if his office receives additional budget.

“By this year, we have programmed more than 200 evacuation centers that we are targeting to finish… In fact, in this year’s budget, meron po kaming (we have an) allocation for two evacuation centers at least per province,” Villar said.

“So madadagdagan pa iyan (It will increase), if we get additional budget… Magkakaroon po ng (There will be) additional, in addition to evacuation centers that are already programmed in the (2020) budget,” he added.

Following the destruction of houses due to earthquakes caused by restive Taal Volcano’s activity, Duterte has renewed his call for the construction of more durable evacuation centers.

The President also suggested that inside the evacuation centers, there should be bathrooms with separate shower room and toilet.

Villar said his office would double its efforts to meet its target to finish the construction of evacuation centers within this year.

He made the pledge as he raised the possibility that the establishment of some evacuation centers might not be completed in one year.

“‘Yung iba siguro hindi rin matatapos sa loob ng isang taon (Perhaps, the construction of evacuation centers cannot be done in one year). But we will do our best to build as many as we can within the year,” Villar said.

“Kailangan pang dagdagan. Of course, sa dami pa ng mga evacuee, we need more. So ‘yun po ang sinasabi ni President na kailangan pa nating dagdagan (We have to build more. Of course, there are many evacuees so we need more. That’s what the President has been saying, we need additional evacuation centers),” he added.

Senators Christopher Lawrence Go and Sherwin Gatchalian have filed separate bills that seek the establishment of permanent evacuation centers in every municipality, city, and province in the country to address the issues besetting the evacuees in times of calamity.

Go’s proposed measure, Senate Bill 1228, mandates the construction of evacuation centers that are well-ventilated and can accommodate a large number of evacuees.

Meantime, Gatchalian’s bill, SB 747, directs every municipality and city to construct an evacuation center for people who have been evacuated or displaced from their homes due to emergency situations. (PNA)

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