LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The municipal government said that the access road leading to the proposed multi-million evacuation center in barangay Wangal is nearing completion that will pave the way for the construction of the facility to beef-up the town’s disaster risk reduction and management capacity.
Mayor Romeo K. Salda claimed that the municipal government provided for the PhP5 million needed for the opening of the access road leading to the proposed evacuation center aside from a few hundred thousand pesos that was paid to the State-run Benguet State University (BSU) for the crops that were affected by the construction of the road.
He added that the construction of the standard evacuation center will immediately commence after the completion of the access road to ensure that the facility will be ready for use in the future although it will take some time for its completion because of the limited funds that had been earmarked by the local government for the project.
However, Mayor Salda stipulated that the local government intends to clarify with BSU on the lifespan of the deed of usufruct for the property owned by the institution that will be used for the evacuation center since it was reduced to 15 years instead of the earlier agreed 25-year duration of the agreement.
According to him, the local government will be shelling out substantial public funds to complete the proposed evacuation center aside from the earlier funds that had been earmarked for the opening of the access road that is why the 15-year lifespan of the deed of usufruct might not be commensurate, thus, the need to clarify the same with the higher education institution administration.
He underscored that the construction of an evacuation center owned by the local government is one of the priorities of the present administration so that there will be a facility that could be used to serve as temporary shelter of calamity victims to prevent the use of schools as evacuation centers.
Initially, the municipal government earmarked some PhP24 million to jumpstart the construction of the proposed evacuation center in response to the marching orders from higher authorities for local governments to establish their respective evacuation centers as part of the efforts to avoid the use of schools as temporary shelter of calamity victims during the wrath of man-made or natural disasters.
The town’s proposed evacuation center will be situated within the BSU property in barangay Wangal fronting the regional office of the National Irrigation Administration.
Salda expressed hope that the BSU will consider extending the lifespan of the deed of usufruct to 25 years renewable for another 25 years so that the local government will be able to maximize the intended use of the facility, especially during the onslaught of natural and man-made calamities to allow calamity victims to have their temporary shelter.
The local chief executive also emphasized that the local government does not want the unnecessary disruption of classes in the various schools, especially when the classrooms are being used as temporary evacuation centers, thus, the need for the immediate put up of the town’s own evacuation center. By Dexter A. See