OCD: Construction of temporary shelters for Taal evacuees a pressing need
Evacuees displaced by the Taal volcano eruption play games on a mobile phone in their room at a government complex used as an evacuation centre in Tagaytay on January 18, 2020.
AFP/Ed Jones

OCD: Construction of temporary shelters for Taal evacuees a pressing need

(Philstar.com) - January 20, 2020 - 1:17pm

MANILA, Philippines — There is an urgent need to build temporary evacuation centers for tens of thousands of residents who fled the erupting Taal Volcano in Batangas, an official from the Office of Civil Defense said Monday.

The OCD is the implementing arm of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

More than 16,174 families or over 70,000 individuals have been seeking shelter in 300 evacuation centers in Batangas, Laguna and Cavite provinces since Taal erupted to life a week ago.

Among the facilities being used to house evacuees are schools, making the resumption of classes in calamity-hit areas a more challenging task.

Assistant Secretary Casiano Monilla, OCD deputy administrator for operations, said schools are being used as temporary shelters because there was an immediate need to shelter affected communities.

But he added the agency is eyeing the creation of additional evacuation centers to spare schools when disaster strikes.

“Ang pinaka more pressing na kailangang gawin ngayon is to build temporary shelters for these people para di naman nadidisrupt ‘yung learning ng ating mga estudyante at the same time magkaroon sila ng konting normalcy sa kanilang buhay pag sila ay nakalipat dito,” Monilla said in a press briefing.

(The most pressing that we have to do now is to build temporary shelters for these people so the learning of students will not be disrupted and at the same time, they will have some normalcy in their lives once they are transferred here.)

DepEd: Don't use schools as evacuation center

Last week, Education Secretary Leonor Briones urged local government units to avoid using schools as evacuation centers to make sure the education of disaster-hit learners proceeds. 

Epimaco Densing III, Interior and Local Government undersecretary for operations, said Briones’ call must be discussed by local disaster offices first.

“Di pa na-identify kung saan sila puwedeng ilipat. Kaya importanteng malaliman ‘yung pag-uusap at ma-identify kung saan ba talaga ang pwedeng paglipatan bukod sa mga school,” Densing said.

(The facilities where the evacuees would be transferred have not been identified yet. That’s why there must be a deep discussion and identify where the victims will be transferred aside from schools.)

DepEd has ordered public schools to accept displaced learners from Calabarzon who would opt to transfer even without requirements. 

State volcanologists earlier said Taal could erupt several times over a span of months or years. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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