Bill establishing evacuation centers in all cities, municipalities gets House’s nod

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 6) — With 307 affirmative votes and one negative vote, the House of Representatives on Monday approved on third and final reading a bill that seeks to establish evacuation centers in every city and municipality in the country.

House Bill 7354 seeks to establish a safe, fully equipped and fully operational evacuation center in every city and municipality to ensure people’s safety in times of calamities, such as typhoons, fires and even the outbreak of diseases.

The bill states that the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRMC) would be tasked to identify priority areas for the establishment of evacuation centers in coordination with local government units.

An LGU included in the priority list would be allowed to improve schools or existing structures used as evacuation centers by making these compliant with the minimum requirements such as location and structural capacity. Under the bill, the LGU is also in charge of the operation, supervision, and management of evacuation centers.

If passed into law, HB 7354 would allow existing structures to be upgraded as evacuation centers provided that minimum requirements are met.

The bill also provides that existing structures that can meet the minimum requirements or can be upgraded to effectively serve as evacuation centers may be designated as such according to the needs of the LGU concerned.