Permanent evacuation centers pushed

Published November 8, 2020, 11:50 AM

by Ellson Quismorio

Another congressman has backed the long–running clamor for permanent evacuation centers following the recent slew of typhoons that hit the country.


“We have to deal with the reality that at least once a year, our country faces a disaster of a scale that requires evacuation,” Rizal 2nd district Rep. Fidel Nograles said.

“Sa panahon ngayon na nagtatalo para sa espasyo ang quarantine facilities at evacuation centers, ang pinakamalinaw na solusyon ay ang pagpapatayo ng permanenteng evacuation centers (During these times when quarantine facilities and evacuation centers are competing for space, the clearest solution is to construct permanent evacuation centers),” stressed Nograles, an assistant majority leader.

He also said that the pandemic has increased the pressure to discard the usual and de-humanizing practice of cramming a large number of people in evacuation centers, which more often than not are public school classrooms.

Nograles said the Department of Education (DepEd) has chimed in on the issue, with the latter calling on government not to use schools as quarantine facilities and evacuation centers at the same time.

“If there are quarantine areas for COVID [in schools], then it will be used as an evacuation center, I don’t think that should be encouraged,” Education Secretary Leonor Brinones said during a recent “Laging Handa” Public Briefing.

Nograles said it shouldn’t have taken a pandemic for Filipinos to realize the perils of “cramming people like sardines in make-shift environments.”

“Itigil na natin ang pag-convert sa ating mga eskwelahan at basketball court. Magtayo tayo ng pasilidad na kayang tagalan ang epekto ng sakuna, at isinasaisip ang kalusugan at dignidad ng mga kababayan natin (Let’s stop the practice of converting our schools and basketball courts. Let’s erect facilities that can both withstand the effects of calamities and respects the health and dignity of our countrymen),” he added.

The permanent facilities, aside from being disaster-resilient, should have access to running water, and should adopt engineering solutions that would prevent the spread of disease while maximizing space, Nograles also said.

He said he is now setting up a team to study the feasibility of creating a permanent evacuation center in his own district.