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PAGCOR earmarks P2B for construction of multi-purpose evacuation centers

Some Marikina residents have nowhere to stay after super typhoon Ulysses, which slammed Luzon last November 11, triggered massive flooding and engulfed their homes.

PAGCORAS part of the government’s long-term response to climate change, which caused the successive strong typhoons that slammed the country, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) allocated P2 billion for the construction of multi-purpose evacuation centers (MPEC) in typhoon-prone provinces.

PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Andrea D. Domingo said the state-run gaming agency still allocated such amount despite its significant revenue losses due to the suspension of gaming operations and strict community quarantine measures to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Filipinos have suffered a lot this year –from the global pandemic to a series of destructive typhoons. Hence, despite our revenue losses, we have committed to provide a long-term solution to the most vulnerable sectors and communities,” Domingo explained.

She added that the recent typhoons have brought so much destruction and suffering to Filipinos. “We deeply empathize with them. In fact, PAGCOR has already deployed teams in hard-hit provinces such as Albay, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Marikina, Isabela and Cagayan to provide immediate relief. But with the construction of MPECs in typhoon-prone areas, we hope that we can help safeguard the lives and welfare of many Filipinos,” she said.

Domingo added that while thousands of locals are being evacuated whenever there is a disaster, some local government units (LGUs) do not have enough evacuation centers. “We want to fill in that gap. Our MPECs will be designed to withstand strong typhoons so that evacuees will feel safe and comfortable while they are away from their homes,” she shared.

The PAGCOR chief explained that as early as 2018, the state-run gaming agency has already conceptualized the MPEC project, which is being spearheaded by PAGCOR’s President and COO Alfredo Lim. “But it took a while to get the appropriate designs and get the costing completed,” Domingo said.

Once all details of the project are finalized, PAGCOR will directly turn over the funding to beneficiary-LGUs for the establishment of MPECs.

The agency will adopt three schemes of donation depending on the site and need of the province.

The first scheme, which has a budget of P12.7 million includes provision of a basketball court which will serve as an alternative evacuation center.

The second scheme with a budget of P27.9 million includes provision of a covered court with bleachers and toilets.

Meanwhile, the third scheme, with P50 million budget includes a two-storey full scale multi-purpose evacuation center with complete facility, packed room for goods, and a badminton-type area on the second floor.

PAGCOR has initially approved 32 MPECs to be constructed in 31 sites. These areas include Albay, Aurora, Batangas, Camarines Sur, Capiz, Ilocos Sur, Laguna, Mountain Province, Marikina, Northern Samar, Oriental Mindoro, Pampanga, Quezon, Romblon, Rizal, Southern Leyte, Tarlac and Zamboanga del Sur.