Philippines gaming regulator PAGCOR says it has earmarked Php2 billion (US$41.5 million) for the construction of multi-purpose evacuation centers in typhoon-prone provinces.
The decision was made following recent widespread flooding across the main island of Luzon in the wake of typhoon Ulysses.
The centers will be built under three separate schemes, with the first providing for basketball courts, each at a cost of Php12.7 million (US$264,000), which will serve as alternative evacuation centers.
The second, at a cost of around Php27.9 million (US$579,500), will include a covered court with bleachers and toilets, while the third at up to Php50 million (US$1 million) will include a two-floor, full scale multi-purpose evacuation center with a packed room for goods and a badminton-type area on the second floor.
PAGCOR has initially approved 32 multi-purpose evacuation centers to be constructed in 31 sites, it said, among them Albay, Aurora, Batangas, Camarines Sur, Capiz, Ilocos Sur, Laguna, Mountain Province, Marikina, Northern Samar, Oriental Mindoro, Pampanga, Quezon, Romblon, Rizal, Southern Leyte, Tarlac and Zamboanga del Sur.
“The Filipinos have suffered a lot this year – from the global pandemic to a series of destructive typhoons,” said PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Andrea Domingo.
“Hence, despite our revenue losses, we have committed to provide a long-term solution to the most vulnerable sectors and communities.”
Noting that some local government units (LGUs) do not have enough evacuation centers, Domingo added, “We want to fill in that gap. Our multi-purpose evacuation centers will be designed to withstand strong typhoons so that evacuees will feel safe and comfortable while they are away from their homes.”
PAGCO recently reported a small third quarter profit of Php137.2 million (US$2.8 million), having suffered a loss of Php1.60 billion (US$32.5 million) for the six months to 30 June 2020.