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Evacuation centers

 

ers sree srr sre erik espina special report erk

BACK in 1986, I had the fortune to travel and study with 10 Filipinos in the United States. A program sponsored by the State Department. Next to class room instruction in Sanggamon University, Springfiled Illinois, we were exposed to various forms of governance at various levels of county, commission, State and Federal government. Our final stop was Washington DC, where I met and spoke with House Speaker Tip O’neal, Senators Stephen Solarz, Paul Simon, Dick Durbin, etc. in respective offices. I distinctly recall an assignment to Maui Hawaii, conferring with the ‘Water District Director’, an Ilocano-Filipino, Vince Bagoyo. Credit to the Mayor – Hannibal Tavares, opening the city to multi-racial officials. Mayor Tavares showed us their ‘evacuation center’, ideally located away from city hall, and up a hill. There is a ‘command center’ for officials and agencies, with a spacious conference room. An ‘operations facility’ and a ‘clip-board response procedure’. Room long consul with many sleeping telephones, computers, monitors, etc. ready to be switched on. Garage area had several ambulances, fire trucks, amphibious vehicles, other stored equipment for modern rescue and disaster. A warehouse (4-5 basketball courts) stacked with blankets, tents, ready-to-eat meals, first aid, etc. packed in plastic or cartons. Hence, last year when I was privileged an appointment as Cebu City Councilor by President Rodrigo Duterte, construction of 2 ‘evacuation centers’ (aside a Cebu City College/University) was priority program for North/South district. Additional features – at least 20 restrooms, plus portalets, communal showers, laundry and cooking area, water tank, generators. Current state of ‘evacuation facilities’ will not do – basketball courts, schools or churches. The ‘multi-purpose gym’, sans a rest-room or two, is political cosmetics, considering fire and typhoon frequency. I applaud President Duterte’s recent order to LGUs to build ‘evacuation centers’ before his term ends. Taal Volcano, is local governance audit and reality check.

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