LAWMAKERS on Sunday urged the government to build permanent homes and evacuation centers to make communities more resilient in facing natural disasters.
Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles of Davao City suggested the construction of disaster-proof houses that are also modular and highly portable.
He said that the government could mimic the use of steel-framed tents being piloted for displaced families in Tanauan, Leyte, adding that these housing units can be used in the government’s relocation program.
Last November, the Super Typhoon (international name Haiyan) left 8,000 dead and tens of thousands homeless when it hit Visayas.
Nograles also said that the government could utilize the Veerhuis process, which allows the construction of a low-cost unit in three days without sacrificing quality.
“We need to start building communities that are disaster-resilient, and I believe modular but sturdy housing units is the best way to go,” he said.
The Veerhuis process consists of constructing small in-site factories that will also generate jobs because they will be operated by community residents to make housing kits. These will be assembled on individual plots and the houses will be anchored by steel cables to concrete platforms to withstand Category 2 typhoons.
Rep. Rodolfo Biazon of Muntinlupa said that determining if evacuation centers should be permanent or movable depends on whether these suit the particular calamity in a given area.
“For hazards of long duration, like volcanic eruption in Albay, there may be a need for permanent evacuation centers. For storms, temporary shelters shall suffice. For tsunami or storm surges, the residents in the area should go farther from the shore and into an elevated area,” he said.
Biazon, also chairman of the House Committee on National Defense and Security, has asked the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to submit a thorough study on the different types of evacuation centers needed in the different specific parts of the country.
For Rep. Emmi de Jesus of Gabriela, the practice of using schools as evacuation centers has to stop.
She said that this hinders children’s education from returning to normal because families cannot yet vacate school premises without decent houses to come home to.
“Permanent evacuation centers located at the safest areas in the country must be established and constructed within internationally acceptable standards,” she said.
Rep. Angelina Tan of Quezon’s fourth district agreed and proposes the construction of permanent evacuation centers in every city and strategic areas in the country.
They should have a centralized kitchen and laundry areas, clinic and generator. Tan also suggest that a social welfare personnel be there and a paging system room with a security camera.
De Jesus said that the centers should be in two to three contiguous barangay (villages) big enough to accommodate the target population and minimize fatalities.