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Permanent evac centers

A stalwart member of Lakas-CMD has urged the government to allocate funds for the creation of permanent, disaster-resilient evacuation centers.

Rizal Rep. Fidel Nograles made the appeal amid the poor condition of the people affected by the recent typhoons.

Because the Philippines is prone to tropical cyclones due to its geographical location there is no way to get rid of the heavy rains.

However, Nograles said the government can prepare for this by having a permanent evacuation centers rather than make-shift in order to save people.

“Sa panahon ngayon na nagtatalo para sa espasyo ang quarantine facilities at evacuation centers, ang pinakamalinaw na solusyon ay ang pagpapatayo ng permanenteng evacuation centers,” Nograles said.

“We have to deal with the reality that at least once a year, our country faces a disaster of a scale that requires evacuation,” he added.

Due to the absence of evacuation centers, people have no choice but to stay in schools, sometimes in churches and in gymnasium if available.

Nograles added that the Covid-19 pandemic has emphasized the need for permanent evacuation centers, with quarantine facilities taking up the space usually occupied by the former.

He noted that even the Department of Education has chimed in on the issue, with the latter calling on government not to use schools as quarantine facilities and evacuation centers at the same time.

“If there are quarantine areas for COVID [in schools], then it will be used as an evacuation center, I don’t think that should be encouraged,” Education Secretary Leonor Brinones said during a recent “Laging Handa” Public Briefing.

Nograles also said that the pandemic increases the pressure to discard the usual and de-humanizing practice of cramming a large number of people in evacuation centers.

“It shouldn’t have taken a pandemic for us to realize the perils of cramming people like sardines in make-shift environments. Pero narito na rin lang tayo, huwag sana nating talikuran ang pangangailangang tugunan ang isyung ito,” the lawmaker said.

“Itigil na natin ang pag-convert sa ating mga eskwelahan at basketball court. Magtayo tayo ng pasilidad na kayang tagalan ang epekto ng sakuna, at isinasaisip ang kalusugan at dignidad ng mga kababayan natin,” he added.

The permanent facilities, besides being disaster-resilient, should have access to running water, and should adopt engineering solutions that would prevent the spread of disease while maximizing space, he proposed.

He added that he is also setting up a team to study the feasibility of creating a permanent evacuation center in his own district.