The need for safe evacuation centers
About 80% of the Cordillera is prone to landslides. Local governments therefore should prepare for this reality so we can avoid needless deaths as what happened recently in Itogon, Benguet and in Natonin, Mountain Province.
There is a need for safe evacuation centers where people can go and take shelter whenever there is a need to. Thank God, weather forecasting has become very reliable nowadays that strong typhoons can be foreseen about a week before it hits land. Look what happened during the onslaught of typhoon Ompong. About seven days before landfall, there had been warnings all over not to take it lightly. As we said earlier, the warning should have been, “It will be deadly!”
By and large, the warnings were heeded but there were people who thought being a “pilosopo” would carry the day. They were told by authorities to evacuate but they said, “No thanks”, as they believed they were going to be safe. The result, tens of people needlessly lost their lives.
In the Natonin case, it was really force majeure or an act of God. The mountain looked stable and the building looked sturdy. But when a humongous avalanche of mud and big rocks happen, no building could survive it, no matter how sturdy.
In light of these, evacuation centers should be constructed in every barangay where people can go everytime there is a supertyphoon approaching or when continuous rains happen for days on end. These need not be so sturdy to withstand an avalanche. It is enough that these are built on safe sites, with enough basic amenities like clean and sufficient comfort rooms. Whenever these are not in use for evacuation, they can be used as class rooms and for other public purposes. The important thing is that these should be on safe sites.
Considering the distances or barangays in the hinterlands of this region, every barangay should have one of these.
The cost will not prohibitive. It would be minuscule compared to what is being corrupted by public offiials.**