In 2016 Budget, DPWH, DILG To Build Permanent Evacuation Centers

December 12, 2015

Permanent evacuation centers with green design will be constructed in every region starting next year, said Senator Loren Legarda, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance.

Legarda introduced a provision in the proposed 2016 national budget to fund four (4) permanent evacuation centers or buildings in every region in the country.

“We have been used to designating schools as evacuation centers in times of disasters and this is not healthy because there are instances when it takes weeks or months before calamity victims are able to go back to their homes or provided with new shelters. In these instances, our children’s educational development suffers because of the delayed resumption of classes,” Legarda explained.

“This is why we see the need to build or designate permanent evacuation centers so that we limit the use of classrooms as such. But, of course, our end goal is still to limit the need to evacuate people by ensuring that human settlements are located in safe and disaster-resilient areas,” she added.

The Senator said that the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) are tasked to build these evacuation centers following strict building codes and green design.

“Following our experience with Typhoon Yolanda which had a wind speed of about 235 kilometers per hour (kph) and the magnitude 7.2 earthquake in Bohol in 2013, as well as the anticipated magnitude 7.2 earthquake that could happen in Metro Manila, we crafted a provision under the proposed 2016 General Appropriations Act (GAA) to ensure that permanent evacuation centers and other new buildings and infrastructure that will be constructed and designed must be resilient to earthquake, typhoon, flood and other extreme weather events,” said Legarda.

“In retrofitting bridges and other public infrastructure, the government should give priority to areas considered to be highly vulnerable to earthquakes and ensure that the retrofitting will result in disaster resilience, energy efficiency, and structural strength and integrity that could withstand the highest probable level of seismic activity in their areas,” she added.

Special provisions in the GAA under the budgets of DPWH and DILG state that the two agencies are responsible in ensuring that the evacuation centers are built on safe sites and designed to withstand wind speed of 300 kph and moderate seismic activity of at least 8.0 magnitude on the Richter scale.

Furthermore, they should utilize natural ventilation and rainwater through the inclusion of a rainwater catchment system and include facilities for the special needs of women, children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities (PWDs) and such other physical provisions guaranteeing a humane condition for evacuees.

“In the selection of sites of the evacuation centers, the DPWH and DILG should consider site stability and susceptibility to landslide or flooding based on the latest vulnerability and risk assessment and geohazard maps of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Evacuation centers must not be located on no-build zones,” Legarda explained.

The evacuation centers shall be turned over to the local government unit (LGU) concerned which shall be responsible for the maintenance and operation of the center.