(PNA file photo)

MANILA – Batangas 6th District Rep. Ralph Recto on Thursday renewed his call for the funding and construction of at least one multi-purpose gym in all municipalities and cities to serve as an evacuation center during times of calamity or disaster.

In House Bill 2826, Recto said the construction of the facility is timely considering that the country is prone to typhoons, with an average of 20 tropical cyclones every year.

“Schools have traditionally been utilized as default evacuation centers in times of calamities, disasters, conflicts and emergencies. Schools, however, are not well equipped to accommodate evacuees since they lack the necessary facilities for displaced families,” he said.

Recto said the use of schools as temporary shelters for evacuees displaces students and affects their education, especially when severely affected families cannot immediately vacate school premises because their houses have not yet been repaired or rebuilt.

“This relegates students to makeshift classrooms that may not be conducive to learning. Moreover, its cost can take away from the meager budget what could be better utilized for more permanent solutions to problems brought about by disasters” the bill said.

Stressing that typhoons become stronger due to climate change, Recto said seeking temporary solutions to the displacement of families by using schools as evacuation centers must be stopped.

He said there should be no tradeoff between protecting lives and the education of students and that a better and more permanent facility must be made available to people in times of emergencies. (PNA)