THE GOVERNMENT would need P33.38 billion to build evacuation centers in every city and municipality in the country, a daunting task that would require climate financing and assistance from the private sector, a think tank said in its report.

According to the Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department (CPBRD), if the proposed measure on building and upgrading evacuation facilities in the country is passed into law, the task of implementing it in 515 cities or municipalities that currently lack evacuation centers would bear down on the national budget.

To address the financial challenge, the CPBRD report recommends leveraging climate, green, or resilience financing and engaging the private sector in the project. However, concerns arise about the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), which, as per the CPBRD, has historically shown low absorptive capacity, with a 53.8% disbursement rate — the highest since 2017 — and an 88.3% agency obligation rate.

The think tank called on the need to consistently monitor and evaluate the project to avoid delays and unnecessary costs.

The CPBRD said Central Luzon needed the highest cost to build evacuation centers at P3.53 billion for 53 cities or municipalities, the think tank said. It added that the capital region would need 854.12 million to build evacuation centers in 13 cities.

The Ilocos region would need P3.47 billion to build evacuation centers in 56 cities or municipalities. A P3.23-billion budget should be earmarked to build 46 evacuation centers in Northern Mindanao. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz