Dagupan’s three-storey evacuation center inaugurated

DAGUPAN CITY — In case of a storm surge or tsunami, the more than 500 residents of the island village of Salapingao and another 500 from Pugaro in Dagupan will now have a place to run to in order to save themselves.

This, after the city government and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) inaugurated Wednesday the city’s first three-storey evacuation center with a concrete roof deck on top in Barangay Salapingao.

The project was funded under the Bottom Up Budgeting program of the DILG with counterpart from the city government, all totaling Php 15 million.

This is in response to the report from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) that in case the Manila trench moves at magnitude 8, it can generate a tsunami as high as five to seven meters in the shores of the Lingayen Gulf.

Mayor Belen Fernandez said the edifice is part of the city’s disaster risk reduction and management program of the city that aims to keep people in the island barangay safe in cases of storm surge or tsunami.

In building the project, the city government considered that Salapingao has no land access to the mainland and can only be reached by boat.

At 900 square meters, the evacuation center can accommodate residents of both Salapingao and Pugaro whenever storm surge or tsunami strikes.

Pugaro is an island village north of Salapingao and is linked by a bridge to the adjacent town of Binmaley.

In case of tsunami, some people of Pugaro can run to adjacent Binmaley to save themselves. But not in the case of the people of Salapingao whose village is surrounded by water.

It was in Pugaro where then Mayor Benbjamin Lim tried to build a first of its kind man-made tsunami hill sometime in 2013 but it was not realized when he lost the election to then vice mayor and now mayor Belen Fernandez.

The land in which the evacuation center was built was donated by Romulo O. Reyes, a resident of Barangay Salapingao and a close relative of Salapingao village chief Delfin De Guzman.

DILG Region 1 Director James Fadrilan and Mayor Fernandez led today’s blessing and inauguration of the building in the presence of the city’s department heads and division chiefs, the DILG family under City Director Rhoderick Dawis and the barangay officials of Salapingao.

In their messages, Fernandez and Fadrilan thanked Reyes for donating a portion of his land to the government so that the three-storey building can be built. Leonardo Micua/PNA-northboundasia.com