The government must build more disaster-resilient evacuation centers where people can take refuge in times of calamities, President Duterte announced Tuesday following the recent series of typhoons that hit the country.

duterte 5 1024x683 - Duterte: Gov’t must build evacuation centers ‘stronger than a typhoon’
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on November 17, 2020. (ALFRED FRIAS/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

According to the President, these shelters must be built “stronger than a typhoon” instead of converting schools and other public buildings into evacuation centers whenever a calamity strikes.

“It is high time that government consider really, of course, in the government units facing the Pacific Ocean, gamit na gamit ito na (it will be frequently used) we build a strong structure, stronger than a typhoon that would come their way para mapuntahan ng mga tao (where people can go),” he said in a televised address Tuesday night.

“Maybe small rooms with many comfort rooms where people can really stay for a while,” he added.

Duterte has expressed concern that the regular functions of schools and government buildings are disrupted whenever they are used as temporary shelter for evacuees. “They usually refer to the schools and public buildings, thereby creating an aberration in the movement or in the development of the different governmental functions and the education,” he said.

After learning from authorities about the planned repair of evacuation centers damaged by typhoon “Ulysses,” the President sought assistance from Congress to respond to the situation.

“Iyan nga ang sanang tugunan ng Congress (I hope Congress will respond), (Senator) Bong (Go) kasi pagka itong ganitong a deluge (when there’s a deluge), they tend to go to places for shelter and relief,” he said during a meeting attended by Go and several Cabinet members at the Malago clubhouse inside Malacañang Park.

Prior to the President’s statement, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año reported about the shortage of evacuation centers in the country. He said that at the budget hearing, senators led by Senator Panfilo Lacson have promised to raise the allocation for the construction and repair of evacuation centers damaged by the typhoon.

Typhoon “Ulysses” has left over 70 people dead and affected more than 3 million people when it lashed Luzon last week. The amount of damage to agriculture and infrastructure has soared to over P7 billion, according to authorities.

President Duterte has vowed to hasten the rebuilding efforts of the typhoon-hit communities amid the planned creation of an inter-agency task force. The Build Back Better Task Force to be led by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea will facilitate the post-disaster rehabilitation and recovery plans of the calamity areas.

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