Bill seeking evacuation centers in every city, town approved
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives on Monday approved on its third and final reading a measure for the setup of evacuation centers in every town and city across the country.
Aside from providing refuge to persons displaced by typhoons or earthquakes, evacuation centers can also be used to temporarily shelter victims of fire, disease outbreaks, and other emergencies.
House Bill (HB) No. 7354, which includes Speaker Martin Romualdez and Tingog party list Representatives Yedda Marie Romualdez and Jude Acidre as principal authors, was approved during Monday’s plenary session with 307 lawmakers voting in favor and one against.
HB 7354 provides: “It shall be the policy of the State to uphold the constitutional right of the people for the protection of their life and property and the promotion of the general welfare. Toward this end, the State shall establish and maintain a safe, fully equipped, and fully operational evacuation center, responsive to environmental or climatic events, in recognition of the vulnerability of the Philippines to climate change and hazards such as the occurrence of severe floods, typhoons and other natural or human-induced disasters, illnesses, diseases and other factors that affect the environment.”
The measure will task the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and local chief executives to identify areas to be prioritized in establishing evacuation centers.
HB 7354 also tasks the NDRRMC to work with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and the Department of Science and Technology on the design, cost estimates, and construction of the evacuation centers.
It provides that existing structures, which meet the minimum requirements in terms of location, structural capacity, amenities, and accessibility or can be upgraded can be designated as evacuation centers according to the needs of the local government unit concerned.
The local governments will be responsible for the operation and management of the evacuation centers, which will be constructed and funded by the DPWH.
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