Lawmakers: Require construction of evacuation centers
Schools, which are often used as evacuation centers, are not really made to accommodate displaced families, lawmakers say

CROWDED EVACUATION CENTER. Residents seek refuge in a temporary evacuation center in Tacloban City, Leyte. File photo by Dennis Sabangan/EPA

MANILA, Philippines – Government must strive to soften the impact of calamities on people by constructing evacuation centers that can accommodate potential victims per every two to 3 contiguous barangays.

Bayan Muna Representatives Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate proposed House Bill 3648 to compensate for the lack, if not absence of, an effective disaster reduction and risk plan.

“We can save lives by ensuring that sturdy and typhoon-resilient, climate change-adaptive evacuation centers are located at a distance safe from waters and landslide-prone areas in every two to three contiguous barangays,” Colmenares and Zarate said in the explanatory note of the bill. 

Schools, which are often used as evacuation centers, according to the two lawmakers, are not really made to accommodate displaced families because they don’t have enough facilities like comfort rooms, sleeping or even cooking areas. 

“In fact, schools must not be used as evacuation centers because the children’s education are the most affected especially in situations when things should have started to get normal but families cannot yet vacate the school premises because their houses have not yet been repaired nor constructed. This practice of using schools as evacuation centers has to stop to cushion the impact of calamities and disasters especially on the children,” the lawmakers said. 

HB 3648 seeks to set up an evacuation center at the center of every two to three contiguous barangays all over the country. These evacuation centers should be big enough to accommodate the population of contiguous communities or barangays. Ideally, the evacuation centers should also be able to withstand strong typhoons and should be built with strong materials.

The lawmakers said the budget for the construction of these evacuation centers should be taken from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. –


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