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Bicol’s biggest disaster facility can accommodate 10k evacuees

LEGAZPI CITY --- The Bicol University Convention and Disaster Risk Reduction and Response Facility here that is expected to become a safe shelter for around 7,000 evacuees in times of calamity is now nearing completion.

During an inaugural ceremony for the structure on Tuesday, Ako Bicol Party-List Executive Director Alfredo Garbin said the center is the biggest facility in the region and was conceptualized and initiated by the late AKB Rep. Rodel Batocabe in cooperation with Bicol University president Arnulfo Mascariñas.

The structure inside the Bicol University campus has a floor area of 16,000 square meters.

Garbin said it will not only be used as an evacuation center but will also be a venue for conferences. He noted that the facility can accommodate a maximum of 10,000 delegates during such events.

“Mention has to be made of the late Congressman Rodel Batocabe. In the 17th Congress, he was responsible for preparing the concept paper regarding this project. The idea is to have a convention center of multi-purpose use not only for socio-civic activities such as sports events and conventions but also a venue where we can converge all the activities for disaster risk reduction and a response facility to keep equipment used in disaster response,” the lawmaker said.

INAUGURATION. Ako-Bicol Party-List Executive Director Alfredo Garbin (center) leads other key officials in inaugurating the P750-million Bicol University Convention and Disaster Risk Reduction and Response Facility in Legazpi City on Tuesday (Feb. 28, 2023). The center will serve as a venue for socio-cultural and academic activities as well as an evacuation center during disasters. (PNA photo by Connie Calipay)

Garbin said the project was approved and funded under the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2018 in the amount of PHP750 million and they are currently awaiting additional funds for its completion.

“The chairman of Committee of Appropriation Rep. Elizaldy Co is attending right now the budget coordinating committee. Congressman Co assured that the building will have an additional budget for additional facilities and equipment,” he added.

Garbin said since the province of Albay is disaster-prone, it is fitting that this building is constructed here.

“With its knowledge and experience about disaster risk reduction, Albay became a venue for studies, training about disaster risk reduction and management mitigation,” he said. (PNA)


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