A SENATOR has filed a bill that seeks to set up evacuation centers in every Philippine city. 

If passed, Senate Bill 940 or the Evacuation Center Act will help people displaced by natural disasters, calamities, severe climate disturbances, fire and disease outbreak, among other things. 

“We should no longer be using classrooms as evacuation centers, especially since it delays the continuation of education after a disaster,” Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian, who filed the bill, said in a statement in Filipino on Sunday. 

He also said the country lacks calamity-proof school buildings. 

Almost 400 classrooms had been completely destroyed when typhoon Rai, locally known as Odette, ravaged the country in December 2021, while 397 were partially damaged, the lawmaker said, citing a government report. 

Meanwhile, 11 schools in Central Luzon, nine in Cagayan Valley, eight in the Cordillera Administrative Region and seven in the Ilocos Region were damaged by the magnitude 7.1 earthquake in July. 

The bill requires that areas used for evacuation can withstand wind speeds of 320 kilometers per hour and moderate seismic activity. 

The Philippines is vulnerable to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tropical cyclones, and floods making it one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, according to the World Bank. 

The bill requires the National Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Council and the chief executives of local government units to make a priority list of places needing evacuation centers. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan