Evacuees sleep inside the covered court of the evacuation center after Mayon volcano flows lava fountains and ash in Legazpi city, Albay province on Saturday, January 27, 2018. (KJ ROSALES)

HOUSE DEPUTY Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani T. Zarate has called on the Senate to quickly approve a bill that will mandate the establishment of disaster-resilient evacuation centers across communities following the devastation brought by typhoon Odette (international name: Rai).

“We can save lives by ensuring that sturdy and typhoon-resilient, climate change-adaptive evacuation centers are located at a distance safe from waters and landslide-prone areas in every two to three contiguous barangays,” Mr. Zarate said.

The House version of the proposed law, titled Permanent Evacuation Centers Bill, was passed in March this year.

Under the bill, the evacuation centers would be equipped to double as an emergency response command hub as well as have facilities for food and water supply, medical services, and back-up communications.

Republic Act No. 10121, a law that strengthens the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management System, does not specifically provide for the construction of dedicated evacuation centers. — Jaspearl Emerald G. Tan