THE Provincial Government of Negros Occidental will start constructing its P7-million disaster command center next month, said Provincial Engineer Ernie Mapa.
Mapa told Sun.Star Bacolod on Sunday, May 22, that the structure, which will be constructed on a lot behind the Negros Occidental Multi-Purpose Activity Center (Nompac) in Bacolod City, will serve as command post of personnel, and will house disaster response operations tools and relief items, including food packs.
It is where Provincial Government officials, disaster risk reduction and management personnel, rescue and volunteer groups, will convene during critical times, he added.
Mapa said the Provincial Government will fund the construction using its five percent 2015 Calamity Fund.
"The project is very timely as more calamities, particularly typhoons, are projected to hit the country in the remaining half of the year along with La Niña which normally brings above normal rainfall," he said.
The disaster command center is one of the province's long-term project aimed at ensuring preparedness and readiness during disasters and emergencies, he added.
Mapa said the initial target completion of the project is within two months, but the Province will ask contractor RA Construction and Services Inc. to fast-track the construction in 45 days.
"We want the project to be completed as soon as possible so that we can put everything in place before any new calamity strikes," he said.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said the current El Niño, which has caused dry spell and drought in most parts of the country, continues to weaken but its residual effects still prevails.
The state weather bureau forecast showed that for May to October, seven to 12 projected tropical cyclones may enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility and may particularly hit Visayas areas, including Negros Occidental.