MANILA – Evacuation centers will soon be established in every city and municipality in the country as a measure proposing for such hurdled third reading level at the House of Representatives.
During Thursday’s plenary session, a total of 195 lawmakers voted in favor of House Bill No. 8990, which seeks to establish standard-based relief shelters throughout the country to ensure the safety of the citizenry especially during emergencies and disasters.
Quezon Rep. Angelina Tan, author of the measure, said the establishment of evacuation centers in every city and municipality throughout the county is crucial to provide immediate and temporary accommodation for people who have been evacuated or displaced from their homes due to emergency events such as typhoons, floods, storm surges, drought and other severe climate disturbances, as well as fire, and the outbreak of illnesses and diseases that presents imminent danger to life and property such as the present coronavirus pandemic.
Tan said due to the country’s vulnerability to natural disasters, it is imperative to formulate long-term response to this unpleasant situation by establishing evacuation centers throughout the country consistent with the identified outcomes of the National Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Plan (NDRRMP), particularly in providing adequate temporary shelters.
“It addresses the need to prioritize vulnerable individuals and groups. Congestion in most evacuation centers usually puts at risk senior citizens, the disabled, children and pregnant women who are more vulnerable to diseases. Moreover, this proposal can minimize the loss of lives by bringing the evacuation centers nearer to the populace and at the most accessible and safe areas”, Tan said.
The bill provides for the minimum requirements for every evacuation center which shall cover the location, structure, as well as amenities and accessibility.
The local government units concerned shall be primarily responsible for the operation, supervision, and management of the evacuation centers.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), on the other hand, shall be the lead agency.
Tan said priority will be given to those areas of the country that are identified as disaster prone; financially incapable to establish their own evacuation centers; and do not have existing evacuation centers of their own. (PNA)