President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered government officials to speed up the construction of durable evacuation centers and housing units to ensure that there will be no disruption of classes in the aftermath of calamities.
In a situational briefing after his aerial inspection in the aftermath of Tropical Depression “Usman” in Camarines Sur on Friday, Duterte said he wants the planned evacuation centers to be made up of concrete in order to ensure its durability in times of calamity.
“It has to be a concrete... I would not be satisfied with ‘yung mga kahoy-kahoy lang (if it’s only made up of wood). They will be the first to go if the winds come. This is quite a novelty of recent times because walang hangin, puro tubig (there are no winds, just purely rainfall). So nakita ko kanina (I saw it), it has become a huge lake,” he said.
The President said he wants these buildings to be used solely as evacuation centers and avoid using schools in the conduct of relief operations by government agencies during disaster times.
“Every typhoon, calamity that would need the evacuation of people, the public schools really suffer. And also it disturbs the system. It causes an aberration rather in the schooling of children... These [planned evacuation centers] can only be used for evacuation purposes and to keep the people safe and not to disturb the resumption of the governmental functions that we have, the ministrant schooling and everything na hindi makakaistorbo in this area (so areas affected will not be disturbed),” he said.
In the same briefing, Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said the construction of local and regional evacuation centers in landslide- and typhoon-prone areas is their priority.
“Our priorities would be the construction of local evacuation centers, aside from the regional evacuation centers to be constructed by the DPWH [Department of Public Works and Highways], particularly in the eastern seaboard of our country where about 15 to 20 typhoons visit every year,” Año said.
Late in December, “Usman” lashed parts of Bicol, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon Province), Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan), and Eastern Visayas.
Data from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council showed that the calamity damaged the Bicol region immensely, particularly Albay and Camarines Sur, where heavy rains resulted in flash floods and landslides affecting more than 23,000 families, with at least 122 deaths, and 28 reported as missing.
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