More towns in Laguna and Batangas receive funding for evacuation centers and PAGCOR Village project

Mon| 9.27.2021 | 5:00 PM

More towns in Laguna and Batangas receive funding for evacuation centers and PAGCOR Village projectPAGCOR Senior Manager for Special Projects Division Maria Eliza Cruz (2nd from left) hands over to Mataas na Kahoy Mayor Janet Ilagan (2nd from right) the agency's P30 million grant for the construction of a PAGCOR Village in the town's Barangay San Sebastian for the residents displaced by the eruption of Taal Volcano in January 2020. With them in photo are PAGCOR Senior Manager for External Affairs Division Joaquin Abejar, Jr. (extreme left) and Mataas na Kahoy Vice Mayor Jay Ilagan (extreme right).

More towns in Laguna and Batangas receive funding for evacuation centers and PAGCOR Village projectPAGCOR Acting VP for Corporate Social Responsibility Group Ramon Stephen Villaflor (3rd from left) formally turns over to Luisiana Mayor Nestor Rondilla (2nd from right) the agency's financial grant for the building of a multi-purpose evacuation center in the town. Joining them in the photo are (from left) PAGCOR's Senior Manager for External Affairs Division Joaquin Abejar, Jr., Senior Manager for Special Projects Division Maria Eliza Cruz and Laguna 4th District Representative Benjamin Agarao, Jr.

More towns in Laguna and Batangas receive funding for evacuation centers and PAGCOR Village projectPAGCOR Acting VP for Corporate Social Responsibility Group Ramon Stephen Villaflor (2nd from right) and Victoria Mayor Dwight Kampitan (2nd from left) lead the ceremonial burying of the time capsule during the groundbreaking rites for the construction of a multi-purpose evacuation center in the town. Photo also shows Victoria Municipal Administrator Ricardo Yambot (extreme left), Vice Mayor Recto Kampitan, Jr. (3rd from left) and PAGCOR Senior Protocol Officer Mary Anne Vitug (extreme right).

THE Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) formally released the funding for the construction of Multi-Purpose Evacuation Centers (MPEC) for two towns in Laguna on September 24, 2021.

The agency turned over P25 million each -- or the first tranche of the P50 million funding -- to the municipalities of Luisiana and Victoria in Laguna during separate groundbreaking ceremonies graced by the agency’s key officers and local officials.

Luisiana and Victoria, which are both classified as 4th class towns, have a combined population of over 70,000. Because of this, evacuating locals during emergency situations and extreme weather conditions pose a huge challenge for those involved in disaster-response services.

“For the longest time, we endured the difficulty of finding different venues where most of our residents can temporarily stay whenever they need to be evacuated. We lack ideal and comfortable spaces for our people during emergency situations. This soon-to-be built permanent evacuation center from PAGCOR is exactly what we need and prayed for. We’re grateful beyond words for this blessing,” said Luisiana Mayor Nestor Rondilla of the structure that will be built in the town’s Barangay San Isidro.

Victoria Mayor Dwight Kampitan, meanwhile, said that the MPEC to be constructed in Barangay San Roque will not only help augment their disaster risk reduction management efforts but also provide extra space for various events that require indoor venues. “Napakalaki ng magiging pakinabang sa aming bayan ng istrukturang pinondohan at itatayo ng PAGCOR kaya’t lubos ang aming pasasalamat sa pamunuan ng ahensya,” he expressed.

A day earlier, the state-run gaming firm also led the groundbreaking rites for the construction of a PAGCOR Village in Barangay San Sebastian, Mataas na Kahoy, Batangas.

During the event, PAGCOR formally released P30 million to the local government of Mataas na Kahoy to commence the permanent housing project for families displaced by the eruption of Taal Volcano in Batangas.

Over 100 families who are living within the Taal Volcano permanent danger zone will benefit from the project.

Alongside the groundbreaking of PAGCOR Village project was the ceremonial turnover of the PAGCOR-funded four-storey, 24-classroom building in Mataas na Kahoy Senior High School. The schoolbuilding was constructed in 2016 and had provided conducive learning and comfort to hundreds of students from the town and nearby areas before the pandemic halted face-to-face classes in 2020.

According to Mataas na Kahoy Mayor Janet Ilagan, they identified the beneficiaries of the housing project through the efforts of their municipal social welfare and development office, which seriously considered the risks posed by the active volcano to their residents since its phreatic eruption in January 2020.

“We specifically considered those living within the seven-kilometer radius of the volcano, and the PAGCOR Village that will be built on a 1.6-hectare land is at least 11 kilometers away from the danger zone. Napakalaking tulong po nito sa mga residenteng napili naming tumira doon dahil bukod sa malayo sila sa panganib na hatid ng bulkan eh magkakaroon na sila ng tahanang matatawag nilang talagang kanila,” she said.

Among those who will be relocated to the PAGCOR Village as soon as it is built is the family of 53-year-old Evangeline Pasia, who is still suffering from the trauma brought by the eruption of Taal Volcano in 2020.

“Hindi pa man po natatapos ang proyekto eh nagpapasalamat na po kami nang husto dahil dito sa kasalukuyan naming tirahan na hindi naman talaga amin ay takot ang nararamdaman namin kapag kumukulog o kumikidlat. Ganoon po kasi ang narinig namin noong pumutok ang bulkan,” Pasia narrated.

To date, PAGCOR has released initial funding for 38 sites for MPECs in disaster prone areas around the country and full grants for PAGCOR Villages in four barangays in Batangas.

Go back