By Dino Balabo
MALOLOS CITY—Worried about floods, Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino Alvarado bats for climate proofing of schools in the province to serve as functional evacuation centers during floods.
He also asked the sangguniang panlalawigan to ratify an ordinance for the creation of permanent evacuation centers in flood-prone towns and cities in the province.
Alvarado’s call came after the province suffered floods after the onslaught of typhoons Pedring and Quiel in 2011 and the southwest monsoon rains last year.
“This is very timely, we found out that our functional evacuation centers were also submerged in recent floods,” the governor said in an interview after delivering his first state of the province address in three years.
He said that public schools along with churches served as functional evacuation centers during the flood, but many were submerged and were not utilized.
The governor said that while the Department of Education (DepEd) is completing their counterpart in constructing half of the more than 1,800 classrooms in the province, the Department must make sure that it will not be easily submerged.
The governor also asked the sangguniang panlalawigan to pass an ordinance that will serve as basis for construction of permanent evacuation centers in flood-prone towns in the province such as Hagonoy, Calumpit,Paombong, Guiguinto, Obando, Bocaue, Marilao, Bulakan, and the cities of Malolos and Meycauayan.
As an example, he said that the grounds of Hagonoy West Central School in Barangay Sto. Rosario in Hagonoy town will be elevated to at least one meter above the road.
The campus of the said school used to go under water during high tide, and during floods.
“There must be a dry area where people can evacuate during flood events,” he said and stressed that to provide that, school facilities must be climate proofed when undergoing rehabilitation.
With regards to funding of permanent evacuation centers, the governor said that they will coordinate with local mayors for counterpart funding.
As this developed, he also urged the sangguniang panlalawigan to pass a resolution asking the national government to establish the first National Dam Safety Board, and the revival of the Pampanga River Control System (PRCS) which is tasked to manage river systems in Central Luzon.
The call for the national dam safety board is a parallel move of the provincial government to the proposed National Dam Safety Law authored by Rep. Marivic Alvarado of the first congressional district of the province.