Isabela continues to blaze the trail in disaster preparedness.
Five typhoon-proof evacuation centers worth one hundred seven million pesos are set to rise in the country’s second largest province – one in each of the four coastal municipalities worth twenty million pesos each and another in the Isabela Provincial Capitol compound. The provincial government will invest at least ninety million pesos in these projects designed to further strengthen and intensify disaster preparedness in the province.
This development was announced by Governor Faustino Dy III during the ground breaking ceremonies of the twenty-seven million peso Multi-Purpose Evacuation Center in the capitol compound, a priority project of the provincial government in partnership with DSWD RO2 which extended a ten million peso grant and DILG RO2 which provided seven million pesos in performance challenge fund.
Once completed, the project is touted to be the first ever PLGU constructed evacuation center in the country.
“Hindi natin maatim ang kahit na isang buhay ang mawala”, said the governor in his message before employees of the provincial government and guests led by DILG Provincial Director Elpidio Durwin, Frank Lopez of DSWD Region II and Fr. Alden Zulueta who led the blessing of the construction site. “Lahat ng paraan ay ating gagawin upang maging handa sa anumang sakuna ang mamamayang Isabeleño,” he promised.
Dy stressed that the plan to construct the evacuation centers in Palanan, Maconacon, Dinapigue and Divilacan was conceptualized long before the onslaught of typhoon Yolanda. “The Yolanda experience has strengthened our resolve to pursue and finish the project at the soonest possible time,” he added.
The local chief executive issued a directive to expedite the construction of the centers while Vice Governor Tonypet Albano gave his assurance that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan has already appropriated funds for the projects.
PSWDO Lucila Ambatali described the Center as composed of two buildings with a total of 2,119.56 square meters in floor area. The Evacuation and Multi-Purpose Center is a three-storey affair while a separate building is devoted to the birthing area and other purposes. Amenities include a communal kitchen, breastfeeding areas, treatment rooms, a labor room, a delivery room, a mini pharmacy, quarters for doctors and paramedics, a storage room for prepositioned goods, a laundry area, a huge dining area adjacent to the kitchen, separate shower rooms for male and female, and sleeping quarters for the evacuees. The Center is very near the capitol gymnasium which could easily accommodate two thousand individuals.
“The center is fully equipped with facilities designed to make life easier and more convenient for evacuees. Adequate provisions for food will also be made available because in the midst of disasters, the victims should be treated with dignity,” she said.
Meanwhile, Director Durwin hopes that the project becomes a white elephant. “Sana’y hindi na natin kailanganin pang gamitin ang evacuation center na ito,”he said. Durwin lauded the pioneering efforts of the Dy-Albano administration in disaster preparedness. “Tunay nga pong trail blazer ang lalawigan ng Isabela,” he exclaimed.
According to Provincial Administrator Noel Manuel R. Lopez, under normal conditions, the multi-purpose enter shall be used as venue for trainings conducted by the PDRRMO. “This is a prelude to the establishment of the Isabela Rescue Academy (IRA), Governor Dy’s brainchild. The governor is bent on instilling a culture of preparedness among the people of Isabela,” he said.