Recto pushes construction of gyms that easily transforms into evac center
As Mt. Mayon has again put the country’s disaster preparedness in the spotlight, Sen. Ralph Recto proposed on Saturday for the government to build gyms in disaster-prone areas that could also be used as evacuation centers.
Recto said putting up such building in every town will prevent schools from becoming the default evacuation areas during calamities, a practice which also turns students into “displaced persons.”
“Disasters displace two kinds of people: those who are directly hit, and the children, who, though unscathed, have to temporarily give up their classrooms to evacuees,” Recto said in a statement.
“It addresses the shortage of covered sports facilities in municipalities and the need for a disaster-resilient safe building people can seek shelter in during calamities,” he added.
A multi-purpose civic center can be the venue for community events on ordinary days but when calamity strikes, could take in evacuees, Recto said.
It can also store disaster rescue equipment and emergency supplies or even serve as the headquarters of the local disaster management committee.
In war-conflict areas, the vacation of children whose schools are utilized to house refugees “is coterminous with the length of fighting,” Recto said.
Recto said these structures are needed in the second most disaster-prone country in the world where mass evacuations happen all the time, add to that the ongoing conflict in several parts of the country.
“Kaya dapat given na itong mga gyms na ito. Bahagi ng ating disaster response infrastructure.”
(That’s why gyms should already be a given. It should be part of our disaster response infrastructure.)
Recto issued the call as he urged the government to step up its evacuation center-building program that began in 2016, when the year’s national budget authorized funding for 32 dormitory-type buildings in 16 regions.
The senator has authored Senate Bill No. 805 which seeks the construction in every city and municipality of a multi-use gym. /jpv
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