The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) led the groundbreaking of a basketball court-type multi-purpose evacuation center (MPEC) in a calamity-prone town here.
The groundbreaking activity, held on April 28, 2023, formally marked the construction of the P12.7 million emergency structure in Barangay Cabubuhan, which has long been suffering from the aftermath of natural calamities. The town lacks temporary shelters that would accommodate displaced families and individuals during disaster situations.
According to PAGCOR Corporate Social Responsibility Group Vice President Ramon Stephen Villaflor, who graced the groundbreaking ceremonies, the construction of an evacuation facility in Barangay Cabubuhan will help alleviate the plight of the residents in case fortuitous events happen in the future.
“We recognize the importance of having safe and dependable evacuation centers in communities that are prone to natural disasters. As we join the ceremonial groundbreaking of this new multi-purpose evacuation center, we are honored to have answered the call for help of the residents of Magsaysay,” Villaflor said.
The PAGCOR basketball court-type MPEC will complement the existing evacuation building of the town, which only has a size of two standard classrooms. Most of the time, the local government unit utilizes public schools as temporary shelters during emergencies.
Magsaysay Municipal Mayor Charlie Buhisan said the new facility will greatly benefit the 43,000 locals, as coping with the harsh impact of various calamities has always been a struggle for them.
“Definitely, talagang kinakailangan itong PAGCOR MPEC na ito dahil palaging binabaha ang mga residente namin dito. Napaka-stretegic din ng location ng structure na itatayo dahil malayo sa Linugos River na laging umaapaw kapag walang humpay ang ulan. Gaya noong December, ang mga eskwelahan ang ginamit namin bilang evacuation center. Kaya’t malaki ang pasasalamat namin sa PAGCOR na nabigyan kami ng pagkakataong mabigyan ng evacuation center dito sa Magsaysay,” he explained.
Twenty-two-year-old mother Wendy Encarguez, who has been used to staying in cramped temporary shelters with her family whenever they need to flee their home, expressed relief that they will soon have a more comfortable place to stay during emergency events.
“Madalas po na problema namin dito ay ang pagtaas ng tubig sa may tulay. Kapag po kasi umuulan umaapaw ang tubig sa ilog at minsan po lumalampas-tao ang taas ng tubig. Pumapasok na din sa mga bahay-bahay at may mga oras na nawa-wash-out po ang mga bahay. Hindi lang din po mataas na tubig nangyayari kapag bumabaha dito, umaalon din po ang tubig kaya sobrang delikado po talaga kapag hindi kami nag e-evacuate. At sa evacuation center naman po medyo nagsisiksikan kami at kapagka napupuno, nauuwi kami sa mga eskwelahan,” Encarguez said.
Currently, a total of 27 MPECs have been completed, while 50 are still under construction.#