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CREATE PERMANENT EVACUATION CENTERS – ZARATE

A bill seeking to establish a disaster-resilient, climate change-adaptive evacuation center in between every two or three contiguous barangays nationwide has been recently filed at the House of Representatives.

Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate filed House Bill 5259 following the 6.6 magnitude earthquake that rocked many parts of Mindanao.

“It is imperative that evacuation centers be constructed in a location that serves as a center to two or three neighboring barangays.”

In his explanatory note, Zarate said it is imperative that evacuation centers be constructed in a location that serves as a center for two or three neighboring barangays, and strong enough to withstand natural calamities.

“These evacuation centers should be earthquake and disaster-resistant so that the victims would be safer and would not be confined in tent cities which are exposed to the elements,” the legislator said.

“The evacuation centers should also be located in between barangays so that more people can reach them at the soonest time.”

“This is a departure from the common practice of using schools and multi-purpose halls as evacuation centers but are still in danger prone areas. The evacuation centers proposed by HB 5259 should also be located in between barangays so that more people can reach them at the soonest time and may also serve as the command center for disaster response,” the lawmaker added.

Under the bill, these evacuation centers shall be designed to withstand a wind speed of at least 300 kilometers per hour and a moderate seismic activity of at least 8 magnitude.

Zarate said the proposed evacuation centers should have cubicles which could house at least five families, restrooms, a centralized kitchen and laundry areas, a power generator, sufficient water supply, a rainwater catchment system, a clinic, appropriate natural ventilation, a stockroom for relief items, and other physical provisions that will assure humane conditions for evacuees.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council shall be the lead agency in ensuring that the requirements for such an evacuation center, Zarate said.

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