Three municipalities that are frequented by various calamities recently unveiled the Multi-Purpose Evacuation Centers (MPECs) funded by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
The towns of Binmaley, Pangasinan; Tagudin, Ilocos Sur; and the city of San Fernando, Pampanga held the inauguration rites of the PAGCOR-funded MPECs on June 24 and June 27, 2022. Each recipient local government unit received P50 million for the construction of two-storey emergency structures, which were completed in over a year.
Said MPECs boast of amenities like kitchen and storage areas, toilet and shower rooms for male and female, and lactating rooms for nursing mothers, among others. They are designed to augment the recipient municipalities’ existing emergency facilities such as schools and basketball courts.
PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Andrea Domingo led the inauguration of the brand-new evacuation center in San Fernando City. The PAGCOR chief also inspected with Bacolor town Mayor Eduardo Datu the newly-built three-storey, 15-classroom school building that the agency funded in Bacolor Central Elementary School (BCES).
“PAGCOR’s effectiveness in regulating gaming resulted in the proper collection of revenues. So during our six years in office, we were able to record more than P300 billion, of which P234 billion went directly to the government and mandated beneficiaries while the remainder went to our social responsibility projects,” Domingo stated.
Meanwhile, PAGCOR President and COO Alfredo Lim, who unveiled the MPECs in Tagudin and Binmaley, said that the newly-built facilities were built in accordance with the specifications and requirements provided by the Department of Public Works and Highways. “Ang mga evacuation center na ito na magiging sanggalan at proteksyon ng ating mga kababayan upang sila ay protektado sa ano mang kalamidad na tatama sa kanilang lugar,” Lim said.
Tagudin Mayor Roque Versoza, Jr. said the new evacuation facility will not only help ensure the safety of his constituents during extreme calamities and other emergency situations but will also provide extra space where they can hold various programs and activities.
Tagudin local Gema Sanchez, 44, is also grateful for the new evacuation facility donated by PAGCOR. She recalled how locals like her feared for their lives when Typhoon Lawin ravaged their town in 2016. “Natutuwa po kami na nagkaroon dito sa aming bayan ng isang mas malapit na evacuation center kasi po kapag may bagyo, malayo po ang pinaglilikasan namin. Noong huling binagyo kami, kahit mataas ang bahay naming, eh inabot pa rin ng agos ng tubig mula sa dagat na may kasamang buhangin at kahoy. Hiwa-hiwalay po kaming lumikas noon ng pamilya ko dahil kinakailangang may maiwan sa aming bahay dahil mga alaga naming baboy at manok,” she narrated.
Apart from inaugurating the MPEC in Tagudin, PAGCOR also distributed hundreds of food and non-food relief items to indigent families who were severely affected by the previous typhoon that hit the town.
Meanwhile, Binmaley Mayor Simplicio DL. Rosario stated that the brand-new evacuation structure they received from PAGCOR will be instrumental in their promotion of different projects that seek to improve the lives of the town’s residents. “The structure that we received will not only serve as an evacuation facility but also as venue where we will conduct some activities that will boost the welfare of our people,” he explained.
The state-run gaming firm has allotted a total of P3.5 billion for the construction of MPECs in 76 approved sites nationwide. Aside from Ilocos Sur and Pangasinan, MPECs in Tarlac, Albay, Capiz and the towns of Sagñay, San Jose, Tigaon and Ocampo in Camarines Sur have been completed. #