By Joseph Almer Pedrajas
A total of 125 evacuation centers from across the country, which will be turned into health facilities, are ready to accommodate thousands of Filipinos should they be suspected to be afflicted with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said Saturday.
DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said 110 evacuation centers are already being prepared for conversion. They will be able cater to the needs of some 4,620 patients, “considering the 12-square meter per patient latest safety measure of the Department of Health (DOH).”
On the other hand, DPWH Undersecretary Emil Sadain said aside from the existing 110 centers, they are also going to convert 15 more units, which will be able to accommodate 630 patients.
“Thirteen of them [are] only in need of water or power connections by concerned local government units, and two others need some minor corrections by DPWH,” the department said in a statement.
According to Villar, the evacuation centers, which were originally constructed as one of the mitigating measures in disaster risk reduction, are located in low-risk areas. This means that they are far from fault lines and not within the no-build zones.
Villar said among the cities and provinces where their evacuation centers can be turned into heath facilities are: Quezon City, Butuan, Cebu, Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Kalinga, Cagayan de Oro, and Zambales provinces.
According to the DPWH, the newest evacuation center is in Fairview, Quezon City, which is now already being used as Emergency Operation Center by the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office in the National Capital Region.#