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The province of Quezon has become more prepared against future calamities after the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCor) inaugurated newly-built emergency shelters in two municipalities on April 14 and 15, 2023.

PAGCor unveiled a two-story multi-purpose evacuation center (MPEC) worth P50 million at Barangay Camflora in the distant San Andres town, which, for a long time, lacked emergency shelters for families and individuals who are affected by various calamities.

The state-run gaming firm also formally inaugurated a basketball court-type multi-purpose evacuation structure amounting to P12.7 million at a small community in the fifth-class municipality of Plaridel. The evacuation facility will help address the town’s perennial need for a permanent site to safely accommodate locals during emergency situations.

Located in the mountainside community of Barangay Tanauan, the new evacuation structure in Plaridel will provide a spacious venue for residents from the town’s nine villages, whenever they will need to flee their homes in times of calamities.

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Being situated in coastal communities, the towns of San Andres and Plaridel frequently suffer from extreme weather disturbances such as storm surge and severe flooding.

San Andres Municipal Mayor Ralph Edward Lim, who graced the inauguration of the two-story evacuation facility in Barangay Camflora, thanked PAGCor for helping ensure the safety of his constituents.

“I am lucky that during my tenure, our country has not been hit by a severe calamity,” Lim said. “But our citizens are luckier because even before the time has come for them to evacuate, a beautiful and durable building is already here and standing for them to take shelter from PAGCor.”

Raul Endonila, Barangay Chairman of Camflora, San Andres, also shared that he had witnessed many times in the past how his over 8,000 constituents struggled to cope with the impact of severe natural disasters. The village chief added that for many years, Camflora has been one of the areas in San Andres that reeled hard from the aftermath of calamities.

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“Our situation has been very difficult for a very long time due to the lack of enough accommodation for residents who are looking for safe shelter whenever there is a threat of danger from strong typhoons in our province,” Endonila said. “Now, they have a neat and beautiful building to go to when they worry about their safety in some situation.”

Meanwhile, Plaridel Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officer Rodenel Vera Cruz, expressed relief that the locals in their town will no longer endure the difficulty of staying in cramped structures whenever they need to evacuate.

“It has become common for the people here to evacuate whenever there are strong typhoons and severe floods,” said Vera Cruz. “What they can’t get used to is the hardship they experience in crowding schools and barangay halls whenever they have to evacuate. Therefore, having a permanent evacuation site from PAGCor is a great help and comfort for our small town.”

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To date, a total of 26 MPECs have been fully built and unveiled nationwide while 51 are still undergoing construction.

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