STO. TOMAS -- The National Housing Authority (NHA), through the initiative of the local government unit, has started the construction of a municipal evacuation center and multi-purpose hall in this town.

During Thursday's ground-breaking ceremony, NHA Senior Project Manager Rogie Pineda said the structure will be built within 120 working days or four months time at a cost of P8 million.

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Pineda said the project is a grant from the NHA, through the initiative of Mayor Joselito Naguit and members of the Municipal Council who have submitted their request to NHA General Manager Rico Laxa in 2007.

He said the constant follow-up of Naguit and council members at their office paved the way for the realization of the project, which is just one of NHA's several projects constructed through partnership with the respective LGU in the province.

"Actually, hindi lamang dito sa Sto. Tomas tayo nagtayo ng evacuation center at multi-purpose building kundi sa mga bayan ng Mabalacat, Floridablanca, Sasmuan, Macabebe, Guagua, Candaba, Minalin, San Simon at sa Angeles City," Pineda said.

For his part, Naguit thanked President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Laxa for the realization of the project, saying the structure will not only serve its purpose as an evacuation center but can also be utilized as a basketball court, function hall and for general assembly programs such as graduation, senior citizens' meeting and Christmas parties.

He said the evacuation center will be a great help to the people of this town in times of disaster and calamities. He added the permanent structure was just one of many projects given by President Arroyo and the NHA in cooperation with the LGU. (Chris Navarro)