Amid Taal eruption, Bayan Muna pushes for Evacuation Centers Bill

House Bill 5259 is an act seeking to establish evacuation centers in two to three barangays that is “big enough to accommodate the target population, strong enough to withstand natural calamities and situated away from waters and landslide-prone areas.”

By JOHN AARON MARK MACARAEG
Bulatlat.com

MANILA–In the wake of the eruption of Taal Volcano, Bayan Muna Representative and House Deputy Minority Leader Carlos Isagani Zarate called for the fast tracking of House Bill 5259 or the Evacuation Centers bill that would provide secure places for victims of calamities.

The Taal Volcano eruption has already reached Alert Level 4 which “spewed lava fountains amid the threat of hazardous explosion.” In a report forwarded by Citizens Disaster Response Center (CDRC) from National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), 966 families or 7,742 people have already sought shelter in 38 evacuation centers in Batangas and Cavite provinces/

Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvocs), meanwhile, has called for a “total evacuation” OF those who live within the 17-kilometer (10.6 miles) radius around the volcano or “danger zone” which is home to more than 450,000 residents.

The Bayan Muna solon has feared that the evacuees would have nowhere to go because of lack of evacuation centers, and in future calamities to come.

House Bill 5259 is an act seeking to establish evacuation centers in two to three barangays that is “big enough to accommodate the target population, strong enough to withstand natural calamities and situated away from waters and landslide-prone areas.”

The proposed evacuation centers should be typhoon, earthquake and disaster resistant and have a stockpile of relief goods, so that the victims would be safer and would not be confined in tent cities which are exposed to the elements.

Zarate also argued the usual practice of seeking shelter in schools and multi-purpose halls which was not conducive as an evacuation centers since those were also located in the danger zones.

“We can save lives by ensuring that sturdy and disaster-resilient, climate change-adaptive evacuation centers are located at a distance safe from waters and landslide-prone areas in every two to three contiguous barangays,” said Zarate.

With the passage of the recently enacted bill from Bayan Muna which is authored by then Rep. Neri Colmenares, the Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Law or Colmenares Law, Zarate is hopeful that the Congress will immediately respond to HB 5259 for the safety of Filipinos in time of disasters and calamities. (https://www.bulatlat.com)

CDRC advises those who are affected to with the Southern Tagalog People’s Response Center. For donations, contact Hanna Fiel, CDRC Research and Public Information Officer 0945-8355589, hanna.fiel.cdrc@gmail.com or drop their donations at 72A, Times St., West Triangle Homes, Quezon City.

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