March 5, 2021, TAPAZ, CAPIZ-“It was an answered prayer. God heeded what we’ve been asking for. We may be categorized as a first-class municipality, but we don’t have enough funds to build an emergency facility to house all evacuees from our upland communities each time they need to leave their homes during calamities,” Tapaz Municipal Mayor Roberto Palomar emphasized.
With its scenic views, no one would think that this first-class town in Western Visayas is often visited by violent weather disturbances that leave most of its residents scrambling for help without a safe and comfortable place to stay. For decades, the farming Municipality of Tapaz had no permanent facility to accommodate thousands of indigenous families from its upland communities, who are always forced to flee their homes during heavy rains or strong typhoons due to the dangers of soil erosion.
The long wait for an emergency shelter to utilize in times of calamities finally ended for the more than 70,000 residents of the town after the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) funded the construction of the much-needed Multi-Purpose Evacuation Center (MPEC), which broke ground on March 5, 2021 in Barangay Carida.
The Local Chief Executive added that the state-of-the-art MPEC to be built in Tapaz will not only help cushion the effects of any future disaster that will hit the town but will also serve as an additional space where they will hold some of their special events and activities.
“This evacuation center will really be very helpful for us in so many ways. The people of Tapaz will treasure this aid from PAGCOR forever,” he stated.
The groundbreaking ceremony of the PAGCOR MPEC in Tapaz was graced by key PAGCOR officials led by the agency’s Chief of Staff Atty. Albert Regino, Jr., Casino Filipino Bacolod Acting Branch Manager Jose Marciano Bautista and Assistant Vice President for Community Relations and Services Ramon Stephen Villaflor. PAGCOR initially released Php. 25 million to the local government of Tapaz to jumpstart the construction of the evacuation center.
With a budget of Php. 50 million, the two-storey MPEC to be constructed in the town has provision for kitchen area, storage areas for relief goods, toilet and shower rooms for male and female, lactating rooms for nursing mothers, and a spacious badminton-court type area that may be used for sports events and other purposes when it is not being used as an evacuation site. Aside from the MPEC in Tapaz, Capiz, the state-run gaming firm has also released the first tranche of funding of MPECs for San Andres, Quezon; Romblon; Zamboanga del Sur; Taguidin, Ilocos Sur; Tadian, Mountain Province; Legazpi City and Ligao in Albay; Ocampo, Tigaon, San Jose, and Sagnay in Camarines Sur; and San Fernando and Floridablanca in Pampanga.
The agency has allotted a total of Php. 2 billion for the project.
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Not once but thrice PAGCOR releases 3 cash aid beneficiaries to VMMC, SPD and PRC
THE Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) marked once more its major role in the promotion of key health-related programs of the government by providing financial assistance to a state-run hospital on February 24, 2021.
PAGCOR granted Php.123.6 million to Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) to bankroll a building project. The state-run gaming firm also provided cash aids to Southern Police District (SPD) and Philippine Red Cross (PRC) on the said date in separate turnover ceremonies held at the agency’s Executive Office in Malate, Manila. VMMC sought PAGCOR’s assistance to construct a two-storey halfway house or dormitory for the families and watchers of soldiers confined in the hospital.
The PAGCOR Chairperson and CEO Andrea Domingo personally given the check to VMMC Public Relations Unit Chief Juanito Montefalcon who was joined in the brief turnover rites by the agency’s President and COO Alfredo Lim and Directors Carmen Pedrosa and Reynaldo Concordia.
The proposed halfway shelter was originally planned to be a three-storey structure, but VMMC Director Dr. Dominador Chiong, Jr. instantly considered to build a two-storey building due to the issue of height elevation.
In a letter dated September 28, 2020, Chiong uttered that the hospital took into consideration the difficulty that elder guests may encounter during their stay in the dormitory. He also noted the hazard that a high structure may cause to helicopters landing at the helipad near the proposed site.
Moreover, in support of Southern Police District’s (SPD) commitment to immediately address the safety concerns among the cities and commercial centers within its command, PAGCOR granted Php. 4.3 million to the district to procure 10 units of 650 cc motorcycles to be used by its operatives.
“Unfortunately, SPD is incapable of providing motorcycles due to unavailability of resources, resulting to the delay of response during crisis situations. We’re very thankful that PAGCOR heeded our request for financial assistance to enable us to realize our commitment to effectively safeguard the security of those within our district,” delighted SPD District Director Police Brigadier General Eliseo Cruz . Also, turnover ceremony at Philippine Red Cross Pampanga-Angeles City Chapter (PRC-PACC), represented by its Officer-In-Charge Rowena Flores, received Php. 3.5 million from the state-run gaming firm for the procurement of two vans that would help transport their personnel and various blood collecting equipment paraphernalia during blood collection programs and in events of calamities and disasters.
PAGCOR Village will shelter displaced homeless families of Agoncillo and Lemery Batangas
AGONCILLIO, Batangas – “When the Taal Volcano erupted in January 2020, we deployed volunteer PAGCOR employees who immediately distributed food and non-food essentials to affected locals.
However, the bigger problem was the loss of homes and properties of many families living in the towns surrounding the volcano. Now, in spite of the ongoing pandemic, we launched this program not only to provide permanent housing for Taal-affected families who have no means to rebuild their homes, but to also give them hope to rise above their situation,” she explained.
While the Taal Volcano continues to show signs of possible phreatic eruption, endangering anew the families who were displaced by the volcano’s eruption in 2020, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) unveiled its newest charitable project to safeguard the living condition of affected locals.
A brainchild project of PAGCOR Chairperson and CEO Andrea Domingo, the PAGCOR Villages broke ground in the towns of Agoncillo and Lemery on February 18, 2021. They are designed to provide permanent shelters to less privileged families who were displaced by Taal Volcano’s eruption in January 2020.
Most of these families remain homeless until now. Each PAGCOR Village has a funding of Php.30 million. Its main features include 100 units of 30-square-meter houses and an arc or signage located at the entrance of the project site. The PAGCOR Village in Lemery, which will be built in Brgy. Payapa Ilaya and Brgy. Talaga, are both outside the danger zone with up to 15 kilometers distance.
Meanwhile, the project site in Agoncillo is in Brgy. San Jacinto, which is 14 kilometers away from the danger zone. The beneficiary local government units’ counterparts are to provide the land where the housing project will be constructed and ensure that the site has access to roads, water and electricity.
PAGCOR Chairperson and CEO Andrea Domingo said the project came into fruition to provide more concrete and long-term solutions to locals who were displaced by Taal Volcano’s eruption last year.
Ginalyn Alcantara, 50 years old, was one of the locals from Sitio Ilaya in Agoncillo who lost their home during the Taal Volcano eruption in January 2020. A former domestic helper in Malaysia, Alcantara narrated how she saved her salary for seven years just to pay off the loan she incurred to build her family’s dream house.
“Nang pumutok ang Taal noong nakaraang taon, nagkaroon ng malalaking bitak ‘yung bahay namin dahil sa sunod-sunod na lindol. Tumataas din yung tubig lawa. Dati lagpas pa sa 100 meters yung tubig mula sa bakuran namin pero ngayon, kinain na ng tubig pati ang loob ng bahay.
Lahat ng pagod ko sa pagtatrabaho sa ibang bansa ay nabale-wala sa isang iglap. Back to zero talaga kami,” she tearfully narrated. Alcantara’s family is temporarily living in her sister’s old house, as they have nowhere else to stay.
She added that because of the pandemic, she and her partner make ends meet by selling native rice cakes and tending to some backyard farm animals. Luckily, Alcantara and her family became beneficiaries of the PAGCOR Village in Agoncillo.
“Laking pasasalamat po namin sa PAGCOR. Kung ang kasalukuyang hanapbuhay lang po namin ang aasahan, matatagalan po na makapag-patayo ulit kami ng bahay,” she said. Agoncillo Mayor Daniel Reyes said about 1,700 houses in their town were damaged during the Taal eruption and the series of typhoons that battered the country in 2020.
“Of this number, around 400 houses were completely destroyed. Kaya nagpapa-salamat po kami sa PAGCOR dahil mabibigyan ng pabahay yung ilan naming kababayan na wala na talagang babalikan,” he said. Futhermore, Lemery Mayor Eulalio Alilio expressed his gratitude to PAGCOR for helping build a housing community for his displaced constituents.
“Dahil sa sunod-sunod na mga pagyanig ng lupa, tumaas ang tubig sa ilang mga bayan na hindi dati binabaha kaya maraming mga pamilya ang wala nang babalikang bahay. Dahil din sa pandemic, depleted na ang pondo ng aming lokal na pamahalaan kung kaya’t malaking tulong itong proyekto ng PAGCOR,” he shared.
Aside from the “PAGCOR Village”, the state-run gaming firm also allocated P2 billion for the Multi-Purpose Evacuation Center Project which is aimed is to provide temporary shelter for typhoon-prone communities around the country.