Solon presses mandatory evacuation centers

Published November 7, 2020, 5:09 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

Magdalo partylist Rep. Manuel Cabochan III has sought the establishment of mandatory evacuation centers in all cities, provinces, and municipalities in a bid to raise the country’s national preparedness against all types of disasters.

Magdalo partylist Rep. Manuel Cabochan (FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

He filed House Bill No. 7906 or the proposed Mandatory Evacuation and Quarantine Center Act of 2020 to address the country’s vulnerability on the impacts of climate change and other human-made disasters.

“In the occurrence of these hazardous circumstances, the Filipinos, especially the poor and the marginalized sectors of society, suffer tremendously. Most often, they are instructed to stay in congested rooms and basketball courts during times of calamities without having access to proper facilities. Hence, there is a need to establish proper and well-equipped evacuation centers that would guarantee the safety and needs of the populace during calamities,” Cabochan said in his bill’s explanatory note.

Citing the 2019 United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) report, at least 60 percent of the country’s total land area is exposed to multiple hazards and 74 percent of the population is susceptible to their dire impacts.

HB 7906 mandates the construction of an evacuation center in every city, province, and municipality throughout the country, which shall provide basic needs and assistance to all evacuees, and shall serve as their temporary shelter in times of natural calamities, and emergencies.

Under the bill, he evacuation centers shall be constructed and designed to withstand super typhoons or wind speeds of at least 300 kilometers per hour and seismic activity of at least magnitude eight.

Cabochan said the evacuation centers should be calamity-resilient, be built with sturdy materials, and be built in accordance with the specifications of Republic Act No. 6541, otherwise known as the National Building Code of the Philippines, and should be at par with the standards set by the International Building Code.

He said under his bill, the Department of Public Works and Highways will be in charge of the construction of evacuation centers and formulate the building specifications.

The proposed Mandatory Evacuation and Quarantine Center Act provides that the evacuation centers shall be well-ventilated and shall have the capacity to accommodate a large number of evacuees.

The evacuation centers shall have sleeping quarters for the evacuees, separate showers and toilet facilities for males and females, lactation stations for nursing mothers, provisions for emergency or exit doors, food preparation areas, health care areas, and trash and waste segregation and collection areas among others.

HB 7906 tasks the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council or its successor to serve as the primary lead agency which shall oversee the implementation of the proposed Act.