THE House of Representatives has passed on third and final reading a bill that reflects the concern over the health, safety and welfare of people living in disaster-prone areas.
House Bill (HB) 8990, authored by Quezon Rep. Angelina Tan, calls for the establishment of “evacuation centers” in all cities and municipalities throughout the Philippines.
Note that this Southeast Asian nation of more than 100 million people, mostly farmers, fishermen and lowly-paid workers, is a favorite sparring partner of natural disasters.
Due to the nation’s vulnerability to natural disasters, it is imperative to formulate a long-term response to the “unpleasant situation,” including the setting up of adequate temporary shelters.
Every year, an average of 20 typhoons and storms batter the country, killing scores of people and destroying billions of pesos worth of infrastructure and crops.
The setting up of evacuation and relief centers in all municipalities and cities is aimed at ensuring the safety of people during disasters and other national emergencies.
“Congestion in most evacuation centers usually puts at risk senior citizens, the disabled, children and pregnant women, who are also vulnerable to many diseases,” said Tan.
Under the proposed legislation, local government units (LGUs) shall be primarily responsible for the operation, supervision and management of these evacuation centers.
We share the view of the author of the bill that priority be given to disaster-prone areas and financially incapable LGUs to establish their own evacuation centers.
The public expects the government, through Congress, to deliver on its pro-people agenda by setting up temporary shelters not only in the metropolis but elsewhere.