IN PREPARATION for the coming typhoon season, six evacuation centers have been constructed in the different provinces of the Cordillera region.
Janet Armas, regional director of the Department of Social Welfare and Development – Cordillera, said the facilities were constructed in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s instructions last year for all local government units to establish their own evacuation centers.
This would ensure that classes are not disrupted after a disaster. At present, public elementary and high school facilities are used as evacuation centers during disasters.
“We already have six evacuation centers in the region completed located in each province and knowing CAR, it’s difficult to bring people from the mountains going to the capital towns where the evacuation centers are located. In our visit to the municipalities, what we’ve seen was the municipalities also identified possible areas for an evacuation centers like those constructed in Kibungan and in some municipalities in Abra,” Armas said.
The facility can accommodate 33 families at a time. This has a common shower and laundry areas.
In April this year, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) formally opened a regional evacuation center (REC) built on a 3,000-sqm lot for P34 million in Benguet Province, which was the first of six such facilities planned in the region.
Typhoon Ompong devastated northern Luzon in September last year, some two years since Super Typhoon Lawin's lashing which triggered landslides and flooding.
Armas reiterated that individuals in a family must heed to the advisories of government to prevent them from victims of disasters and calamities.
“The preparations that we had, especially for Benguet during the summer season, was to conduct and include in the family development session the supposed preparation of each family in times of disasters. There were also international agencies headed by the Diocese of Baguio funded by Caritas which conducted sessions and hopefully this will help people in the community to accept that partly they are responsible in times of disasters to follow advisories being issued by government agencies,” Armas stated.
The President earlier advised local governments to avoid using public schools during disasters, but other government facilities may still be used.