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3 evacuation centers to rise in Albay's 1st district

Manly M. Ugalde


LEGAZPI CITY, Albay – Amid the ongoing Mayon eruption that affected more than 40,000 individuals within the 6-kilometer permanent danger zone, a proposed 3 evacuation centers could have been in place and spare school facilities in accommodating the evacuees had the Department of Public Works and Highways gave priority to the project.


Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman (1st District) had proposed for the construction of 3 evacuation centers in Tabaco City, and the towns of Malinao and Tiwi at a cost of P70 million each, as early as last year, which could give fair comfort for the Mayon evacuees cramped in evacuation centers in the first district of the province, following the June 8 Mayon eruption under Alert 3.


The Philippine institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said Mayon remain unstable under what they called continuing effusive eruptions under Alert level 3 during the past two months and warned the return of residents at the declared no man’s land 6-km permanent danger zone.


Albay 1st District Engineer Rainero Zerda confirmed the proposed 3 evacuation centers as early last year to be housed in Tabaco City and the neighboring Malinao and Tiwi towns. He said funding for the said project is being work out by Congressman Lagman.


It will be recalled that the Japanese International Cooperating Agency (JICA) had once offered to build typhoon-proof evacuation centers in Albay strategic sites that could accommodate thousands of evacuees during typhoons and Mayon eruptions, to spare school facilities serving as evacuation centers for the teachers and students’ sake. The typhoon-proof evacuation centers were offered free by the Japanese government with the chosen towns and cities merely required to just donate at least 3000 square meter of lot to serve as the evacuation facilities.


Then DPWH assistant regional director Oscar Cristobal confirmed the JICA offer as he was the official who was sent by the DPWH to attend the JICA meeting held in Legazpi when the proposed typhoon proof evacuation center was discussed. For unknown reason, the project was not realized, said Cristobal.


But a source who was aware about the JICA offer said the reason behind the non-realization of the Jica proposed evacuation centers was corruption. He said some local government units did not buy the idea of having Jica handling the construction of the typhoon proof facilities for simple reason they will not get anything from the project. Jica wanted to build the project by themselves to see to it the typhoon proof buildings is according to their design that could withstand strong typhoons, the source said.


According to Engr. Zerda, the three evacuation centers through the initiative and efforts of Congressman Lagman have a floor area of 1,400 square meter in a 2,500 square meter lot, with 106 adoptable rooms each building for the evacuees family fair share of privacy. He said each building include 14 comfort rooms, water and sports facilities.

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