Three towns in Eastern Visayas receive funding for PAGCOR’s evacuation center project

Tue| 11.30.2021 | 11:00 AM

Three towns in Eastern Visayas receive funding for PAGCOR’s evacuation center projectBorongan native Allan Consultado stands beside the ruins of one of the houses in their riverside community that is constantly lashed by strong typhoons. During severe weather conditions, his family seeks temporary shelter in the city’s legislative building.

Three towns in Eastern Visayas receive funding for PAGCOR’s evacuation center projectPAGCOR Acting VP for Corporate Social Responsibility Group Ramon Stephen Villaflor (3rd from left) turns over the first tranche of the P50 million funding or P25 million to Kananga Municipal Mayor Manuel Vicente Torres (3rd from right) for the construction of a multi-purpose evacuation center in the town’s Barangay Poblacion. Joining them in the event are PAGCOR Senior Managers Joaquin Abejar, Jr. (extreme left) and Maria Eliza Cruz (2nd from left), Municipal Vice Mayor Miguel Jorge Tan (2nd from right) and Municipal Administrator Atty. Adelito Solibaga Jr. (extreme right).

Three towns in Eastern Visayas receive funding for PAGCOR’s evacuation center projectEastern Samar Vice Governor Maria Caridad Sison-Goteesan (7th from right) and PAGCOR Acting VP for Corporate Social Responsibility Group Ramon Stephen Villaflor (3rd from left) are joined by other provincial government officials and PAGCOR officers in the groundbreaking rites for the construction of an evacuation facility in Borongan City’s Barangay Alang-alang.

BORONGAN, Eastern Samar – Every time a destructive typhoon is forecasted to enter the Eastern Visayas region, Allan Consultado and his family have to evacuate their riverside home to avoid being carried away by raging waters.

A resident of Borongan City, Consultado shares how he and his family would walk through flooded streets to seek shelter in the city’s legislative building along with other residents until it is safe to go back to their homes. “Masikip po doon tapos kapag maliligo walang CR,” said Consultado, who also detests the lack of privacy in the building since many families have no choice but share a limited space with others.

In response to the plight of locals in typhoon-prone communities like Borongan, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) recently earmarked P75 million to three towns in the Eastern Visayas region for the construction of two-storey Multi-Purpose Evacuation Centers (MPECs). Each two-storey MPEC building has a funding of P50 million.

On November 25 to 26, 2021, PAGCOR released the first tranche – or P25 million each – to the local governments of Borongan, Eastern Samar; Tacloban; and the town of Kananga in Leyte. The PAGCOR-funded evacuation center in Borongan City will rise in Barangay Alang- alang while the two MPECs in Leyte will be constructed in Tacloban City’s Barangay New Kawayan and Kananga’s Barangay Poblacion

According to Eastern Samar’s Vice Governor Maria Caridad Sison-Goteesan, most of the tropical cyclones in the country frequently make initial landfall in the Eastern Visayas region because of its geographical location. “There is no denying na ang Eastern Samar ay paborito bisitahin ng bagyo. The brunt of Super Typhoon Yolanda, known in history as the biggest typhoon ever to hit land, dito unang nag-landfall sa Eastern Samar,” she said.

With the soon-to-rise PAGCOR-funded MPECs in Eastern Visayas, locals who live in communities that are within the path of typhoons will have a safe and comfortable place to stay in times of disaster.

During the project’s recent groundbreaking events, PAGCOR’s Acting Vice President for Corporate Social Responsibility Ramon Stephen Villaflor explained that the two-storey MPECs to be built by the state-run gaming agency will have a lactation room for nursing mothers, kitchen, comfort rooms and additional rooms that can be used for multiple purposes when there are no calamities.

“This project is in response to the government’s priority to build more safe evacuation centers nationwide since the country is prone to various calamities such as typhoons, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions,” he cited.

Meanwhile, Eastern Samar Vice Governor Maria Caridad Sison-Goteesan thanked PAGCOR for not only responsibly regulating the Philippine gaming industry but also for “generating revenues to support us in times of calamity and for other socio-civic programs.”

Likewise, Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez emphasized how the PAGCOR-funded evacuation center will be of big help to Tacloban City. It can be recalled that in 2013, Tacloban was one of the worst-hit areas in the Visayas region after storm surges brought by Super Typhoon Yolanda damaged most of the city’s structures and claimed thousands of lives.

Kananga Municipal Mayor Manuel Vicente Torres also noted how timely PAGCOR’s MPEC project is because aside from typhoons, the country is still in the middle of the pandemic, which has exhausted the funds of many local government units.

Since the project’s launch in 2020, PAGCOR has released a total of P1.309 billion to kick-start the construction of 57 MPECs nationwide. The amount represents the first tranche or 50% of PAGCOR's committed funding for the MPEC project.

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