By John Noel E. Herrera
To boost Iloilo City’s disaster risk reduction and management and emergency response capabilities, another ICARE (Iloilo City Action Response) Center will soon rise in the metropolis through the city government’s partnership with Megaworld Corporation.
“This will be established to immediately respond to emergencies and urgent situations around the city, and to add to our now existing ICARE centers as this will be I think, our fifth or sixth ICARE center all over the city,” Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas said during the groundbreaking ceremony.
On March 3, 2023, Treñas, together with Alliance Global Group’s chief executive officer Kevin Tan, Megaworld’s chief operating officer Lourdes Gutierrez Alfonso and Tingog Party-list Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez led the ceremonial capsule laying of the “Iloilo Business Park ICARE Center” in Mandurriao district.
Treñas said that Megaworld Corporation donated a 2,500-square-meter lot at its 72-hectare Iloilo Business Park for the establishment of the disaster management center.
The two-storey center will house the offices of various government agencies, including the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO), Public Safety and Transportation Management Office (PSTMO), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).
Treñas said the city government allotted P33 million for the construction of Phase 1 of the ICARE center, but they still need an additional P47 million for the completion of Phase 2, as the facility would also house a public library, barangay hall of Brgy. Airport, Mandurriao, and the district’s health center.
The mayor noted that Megaworld’s support for the projects of the city government has been vital for the improvement of the city, especially in making sure that everyone in the community is safe.
“This is going to be the biggest ICARE Center. The lot that was donated to us is a total of 2,500 square meters and if you only talk about present values ang baligyaanay siguro diri basi 80,000 (per square meter), ti that’s already P200 million,” he added.
Tan, on the other hand, said that their company is a firm believer in public-private partnerships, and cited that the facility will also be “a vital piece of our township going forward.”
“This new facility will not only boost our emergency response and disaster preparedness, but will also bring a sense of security to the community as they will now have a police station, fire station, health center, city library, and barangay center within their place of work and residence,” Tan stressed.
Aside from the 2,500-square meter lot, Megaworld also donated P20-million worth of supplies and equipment for the command center, such as television monitors, handheld monitoring and network devices, power generators, and equipment for teleconferencing, among others, which will be facilitated by the National Resilience Center of the Philippines.
There are already four operational disaster management centers in Iloilo City, which include the Esther Jamora ICARE Center in Barangay Ungka, Jaro district; ICARE Command Center in Brgy. San Rafael, Mandurriao; and the ICARE satellite centers in Brgy. Balantang, Jaro and Brgy. Calumpang, Molo district, while two others are being constructed in Brgy. Tanza Esperanza, City Proper and Brgy. Nabitasan, La Paz.