DPWH speeds up construction of 200 evacuation centers

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 22 2020 05:36 PM | Updated as of Jan 22 2020 06:10 PM

Evacuees from the Taal Volcano eruption settle at the Alfonso Central School in Alfonso, Cavite, Jan. 20, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA—The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said Wednesday it was fast-tracking the construction of over 200 evacuation centers all over the country amid the President's order to put up more emergency shelters.

Speaking to reporters, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar said the number of evacuation centers could increase as they get additional funding. 

“By this year, we have programmed more than 200 evacuation centers that we're targeting to finish. So madadagdagan po 'yon (there will be more) if we get additional budget. But 'yong iba siguro hindi rin matatapos sa loob nang isang taon (the others we might not finish in a year) but we'll do our best to build as many as we can within the year,” Villar said.

The DPWH has built at least 114 evacuation centers, including those areas affected by the Taal Volcano eruption. 

For long, schools and community basketball courts have served as evacuation centers as facilities for the purpose had been lacking. 

“Some of those evacuation centers are being used now for the evacuation of the Taal residents. Mayroon po kaming evacuation centers sa (we have evacuation centers in) Tanauan, Santa Rosa and San Pascual,” Villar said.

The Philippines was the most susceptible country to hazards brought about by climate change, according to the Global Peace Index 2019. 

The study found that 47 percent of the country's population was in areas highly exposed to climate hazards such as earthquakes, tsunami, floods, tropical cyclones and drought.

Tens of thousands usually end up displaced and in temporary shelter in the wake of disasters. 

—With a report from Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News