Two towns in the provinces of Aurora and Tarlac received a total of P100 million grant from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation for the construction of two multi-purpose evacuation centers.
Dingalan, Aurora, and La Paz, Tarlac received the first tranche of funding for the evacuation center project, which cost P50 million each.
Pagcor initially approved P25 million to each LGU to jumpstart the construction amid the pandemic.
Pagcor turned over the initial funding during the project’s groundbreaking ceremonies in Barangay Ibona in Dingalan on April 8 and in Barangay Rizal in La Paz on April 9.
“We felt relieved when we were told that we can now go on with construction. This project will truly benefit our fellow Dingaleños especially our seven coastal barangays,” said Dingalan Mayor Shierwin Taay.
As a coastal municipality fronting the Pacific Ocean, Dingalan’s water level from the shorelines can rise from 50 to over 100 feet, especially if triggered by a tsunami. Flooding can also extend inland by 1,000 feet or more, covering large expanses of land.
Ibona Small Fishermen Association President Leonardo Viaje Jr. recalled how Typhoon Ulysses, which battered the country in November 2020, caused much destruction as many fishermen lost their boats in the aftermath of the typhoon.
“Kagandahan po nito, may magagamit na evacuation center ang mga kasamahan ko sa pangingisda, maging ang mga magsasaka na nakatira sa tabing-dagat,” he said
Municipal Agriculture and Fisheries Council chairperson Asrelita Del Rosario said the MPEC will serve farming communities not just during calamities but also during important meetings, which are often held in cramped venues or under the trees.
Meanwhile, Mayor Venustiano Jordan thanked Pagcor for the donation, which he said will greatly benefit La Paz, being a catch basin municipality.
“This will also serve as activity center especially for our youth and elderly sectors,” he added.
To date, PAGCOR already bankrolled the construction of 19 evacuation centers across the country.
Since it launched the project in November 2020, the gaming firm already released a total of P463 million out of its P2 billion budget for the construction of typhoon-resilient evacuation centers around the country.
Pagcor Vice President for Corporate Social Responsibility Jimmy Bondoc, in his speech during the groundbreaking activity in Tarlac, said the agency has been playing an important role in President Rodrigo Duterte’s commitment to provide necessary services to the people despite the pandemic, which include the construction of much-needed multi-purpose evacuation centers.