Lapid bill wants other gov’t buildings as evacuation centers in lieu of public schools
MANILA, Philippines — A bill mandating the use of government buildings as evacuation centers in times of calamities and emergencies has been filed at the Senate.
Senator Lito Lapid’s Senate Bill No. 1298 seeks to make use of government buildings and spaces “including but not limited to, gymnasiums, convention centers, multi-purpose halls, covered courts, government warehouses and other similar spacious structures” as evacuation centers for families who will be displaced by natural disasters.
Lapid explained that this is to prevent the use of classrooms and school buildings as evacuation centers, resulting in the disruption of classes.
“Tuwing may kalamidad na lang at mangangailangan ng evacuation center, mga classroom ang ginagamit at ang numero unong apektado dito ay ang mga estudyante,” Lapid said Friday in a statement.
(Whenever there is a calamity and there is a need for an evacuation center, classrooms are being used, which affects the students.)
“Nakakaawa naman ang mga bata dahil bukod sa masamang epekto ng kalamidad sa kanilang pamilya, pati pag-aaral nila ay natitigil dahil ginagamit ang kanilang eskwelahan bilang pansamantalang tirahan ng mga biktima ng disaster,” he added.
(Aside from being affected by the calamity, the children’s studies are also disrupted due to the use of schools as evacuation centers.)
Under the proposed measure, the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (LDRRMC), in coordination with the Office of the City or Municipal Engineer or the Office of the Building Official are mandated to designate the government buildings and spaces that would be suitable as evacuation centers.
“Bilang bahagi ng polisiya ng ating gobyerno sa paghahanda sa mga kalamidad at sakuna na dumarating sa ating bansa, dapat na ngayon pa lang ay may malinaw na mga gusali at istruktura na pwedeng gawing evacuation centers,” Lapid said.
(As part of government’s policy in preparing for calamities and natural disasters, government structures and buildings to be used as evacuation centers must already be identified.)
The bill also seeks to institutionalize the policy that classrooms and schools buildings shall only be designated as evacuation centers as a last resort.
“Huli na dapat sa listahan ang mga paaralan para gawing evacuation centers. Dapat ding maging malinaw ang mga impormasyon kung anu-anong gusali at istruktura ang pwedeng maging community shelter para alam ng ating mga kababayan kung saan sila tatakbo para maging ligtas sa oras ng mga sakuna,” he said.
(Schools should be the last on the list of possible evacuation centers. There should also be clear information on which buildings and structures the people could go to once a natural disaster strikes.)
Under the bill, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and other relevant government agencies, shall formulate the guidelines on buildings and structures that will be considered suitable and safe to be used as evacuation centers.
A similar bill has been filed by Senator Francis Tolentino, granting the local government units (LGUs) the power to use private or commercial buildings as evacuation centers.
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