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Taal volcano eruption’s victims need sustainable resettlement in Philippines: Senator

People take photos of a phreatic explosion from the Taal volcano as seen from the town of Tagaytay in Cavite province, southwest of Manila, on January 12, 2020. BULLIT MARQUEZ/AFP via Getty Images. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

Pan Pacific Agency | COMMUICATION AGENCY FOR PACIFICA REGIONS

MANILA, Jan 28, 2020, The Manila Times. Now that the alert level for Taal Volcano has been reduced and the lockdown order lifted, the focus should be on helping those affected by the volcano’s eruption rebuild their lives, Sen. Francis Tolentino said on Monday, The Manila Times reported.

Tolentino filed Senate Resolution 297 calling on the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) and other relevant agencies to formulate a sustainable Taal Volcano resettlement and rehabilitation program.

He said the eruption of Taal on January 12 affected the economies of the provinces of Batangas and Cavite.

Losses were placed at P6.6 billion, half of it in agriculture and fisheries, the senator added.

More than the economic losses, no less than 907,000 residents were affected or displaced by the eruption, Tolentino said.

Figures from the Batangas Provincial Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council, indicate the numbers could be higher, with about a million individuals being displaced, of which around 200,000 have been sheltering in evacuation centers in Batangas, Cavite and nearby areas.

Tolentino said a resettlement and rehabilitation program could now be put in place with the DHSUD being the leads agency.

“Let’s do it now, the things that will ease the burdens of the affected families,” he added.

The senator said Section 5 I(e) of Republic Act (RA) 11201, which created the DHSUD, provides that the agency formulate a framework for resilient housing and human settlements.

Section 10.2 of the implementing rules and guidelines of RA 11201 calls on the DHSUD to oversee emergency post-disaster/post-conflict shelter recover or climate change adaptation and mitigation disaster risk reduction provisions and interventions.

Resolution 297 is co-authored by Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.

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