BACOLOD CITY – The City of Sipalay in Negros Occidental is building a PHP16.9-million evacuation center to boost the southern locality’s disaster preparedness initiatives.
The construction started Thursday after Mayor Maria Gina Lizares led the groundbreaking at the site in Barangay Gil Montilla on Wednesday.
Lizares said an equipped evacuation center is important for the city, which is geographically-situated in a disaster-prone area.
“We are near the Negros Trench, which is one of the reasons why we often experience earthquakes, which can potentially trigger a tsunami. We are also prone to storm surges and floods brought by heavy rains,” the mayor added.
Last year, the city government updated its safety maps and other possible disaster-related action and response programs during an assessment workshop to update the Comprehensive Land Use Plan and Comprehensive Development Plan.
Also, members of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council gathered for sessions of the Formulation of Sipalay City Contingency Plan for Natural Hazards organized by the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.
With its rich coastal resources, Sipalay is known for white-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and breathtaking dive sites and was the province’s top contributing local government unit in terms of tourist arrivals in 2019.
The city reopened to tourists over a month ago after imposing a ban on leisure travels since Aug. 14 due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic. (PNA)