City regulates the use of evacuation centers

25 August 2021 – The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, approved on first reading an ordinance prohibiting the use of evacuation centers for other purposes other than training centers or activity areas when no imminent evacuation is at hand, assigning the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) direct supervision and management over the evacuation facilities, and providing funds for the maintenance of the said centers.

Local legislators stated that all evacuation centers constructed or otherwise identified by the evacuation center management committee to be such, shall only be used as evacuation centers, or as training centers or activity areas when no imminent evacuation is at hand, and not for any other purpose aside from their purported use as may be allowed by the evacuation center management committee.

Under the proposed ordinance, any person or entity who shall be found in violation of the pertinent provisions of the measure without the expressed or written permission of the evacuation center management committee shall be dealt with administratively, civilly, or criminally whichever the case may be, as may be granted by law.

The ordinance stipulated that an amount which may be determined by the evacuation center management committee for the construction or identification of additional evacuation centers, including the maintenance thereof shall be chargeable against the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management funds, or any other additional sources as may be necessary.

Aside from the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management building being the city’s center for evacuation from any natural or man-made calamity, the ordinance claimed that there are also existing evacuation centers which have been identified at the City Camp evacuation center – District 5; Bayan Park evacuation center – District 9; Loakan-Apugan evacuation center – District 12; Bakakeng Central evacuation center – District 14 and West Quirino Hill evacuation center – District 8.

Executive Order (EO) No. 58, series of 2020, created the city’s evacuation center management committee which standardized the composition of the evacuation management team to manage the establishment of evacuation centers in the different parts of the city.

Based on the aforesaid order, City Social Welfare and Development Officer Betty Fangasan is the overall coordinator of the evacuation center management committee along with the City Mayor’s representative, the Liga ng mga Barangay President, the City Engineer, the City Health Officer, the City Schools Division Superintendent, the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) City Director or his representative, and the non-government organization representative to the CDRRM council, are members and as such, in every evacuation center that will be established, it shall always be managed by the said team.

As recommended by the concerned office, constructed evacuation centers should only be according to their proper and sustainable use and therefore, permanent in nature, unless may be allowed by the committee to be used as training centers or activity areas when no evacuation is eminent to help maximize the use of the same for related purposes. – Dexter A. See