Disaster shelters sought in malls, commercial buildings under Senate bill

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 21 2020 12:34 PM

Evacuees live in temporary foldable tents at the Tolentino Sports Complex and Activity Center in Tagaytay City on Friday, Jan. 17, 2020 in the aftermath of Taal's eruption. Tagaytay currently hosts some 5,000 evacuees affected by the Taal Volcano eruption. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- Government should be allowed to designate private and commercial buildings, including shopping malls, as disaster shelters, a Senator said, as tens of thousands remained displaced on Tuesday due to the eruption of Taal Volcano.

As first responders, local government units should be fully equipped to respond to disasters such as Taal eruption, said Sen. Francis Tolentino in a bill filed last Monday. He served served as mayor of Tagaytay City, a tourist hub that was shrouded in ash.

Owners of malls, restaurants and other buildings used as "permanent evacuation centers," will be paid for the use of their facilities after the calamity, Tolentino said in Senate Bill No. 1272.

The Philippines is the world's 5th most disaster affected nation, according to the 2019 Global Climate Risk Index with nearly $3 billion (P153 billion) in losses. Tolentino cited the report in his bill.

The senator also proposed the holding of inter-local government disaster drills.