Duterte orders DPWH to build gyms that can serve as evacuation centers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 16) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday ordered the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to design and build gymnasiums that will be opened to evacuees during calamities.

"I want to, maybe, 'yung DPWH to design just like a gym, but it cannot be a place for habitation--it is only intended to be used during itong evacuation center kasi kapag ganito tayo ng ganito, especially sa places na prone sa baha, ang mga bata napuputol ang edukasyon. If we can have a design from DPWH na maganda, parang gym with a lot of maybe marami lang, separate lang comfort rooms for the ladies," Duterte said in a press briefing in Tuguegarao City.

Duterte said people affected by calamities often stay in schools, which leads to suspension of classes.

"Ngayon ang concern ko is itong.. historically pagka mayroong crisis, man-made or calamity, sunog and itong away, yung mass movement ng tao always the state refuge are the schools because that's the only one big enough to accommodate a number of people," he said.

Such facilities, Duterte said, will help "alleviate [the] suffering of the people" and prevent "temporary closure of classes" in the wake of catastrophic events.

The President specifically identified Eastern Visayas and provinces near the Pacific Ocean as those that need the project most.

While it may cause billions of funds, Duterte said such an initiative can be his legacy.

"Pag-aralan na lang kasi pag-alis natin, para pag-alis natin sa gobyerno may maiiwan tayo," he said.