House discusses rehab plan for batangas

Taal volcano
A bird's eye view of mud-covered houses at the foot of Taal volcano as seen from a Philippine Air Force helicopter during an aerial survey on January 21. Philippine authorities ordered a crackdown on evacuees' daily visits to homes in the danger zone around Taal volcano, amid a warning it could be "recharging" for a more powerful explosion. AFP / Ted ALJIBE

ASIDE from the passage of a measure creating the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR), the House of Representatives will also discuss in the plenary session the rehabilitation plan for Batangas, following the eruption of Taal Volcano.

In an unprecedented and historic move, the House of Representatives through the recommendation of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, will hold a plenary session today in Batangas City.

This even though the province has been put under Alert Level 4 by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) since January 12.

The session will take place in the Batangas City Convention Center today at 1:30pm.

Also, Speaker Cayetano said the House is awaiting a proposal from the Department of Budget and Management regarding the supplemental budget as requested by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Cayetano said the House of Representatives is committed to work with the DBM to pass the proposed supplemental budget and make sure that the execution will be done in an effective and responsive manner.

“We are coordinating with the concerned agencies and consulting with the local government officials in the affected towns and provinces. The supplemental budget can help alleviate the conditions of our kababayan and enable them to recover from their economic losses,” he added.

Cayetano urged members of the House of Representatives to “work harder, work faster and work smarter” to ensure that they respond to the needs of the disaster victims.

As of January 18, almost 150,000 individuals in Batangas have moved to evacuation centers in the aftermath of the Taal eruption.

The Speaker urged members of the Lower Chamber to come up with long-lasting and reliable solutions, programs and mechanisms to respond to calamities and disasters and not just undertake relief operations.

Cayetano underscored that the country needs to do better in rehabilitation of a calamity-stricken province although it has improved its disaster response system over the past years.

He cited the need to learn from the experience in the other major disasters that hit the country like “Yolanda”, “Sendong”, Pablo and earthquakes in Mindanao.

Unlike in the other disasters, the House of Representatives has started to initiate rehabilitation plans for the Taal victims while Alert Level 4 is still in effect. In the previous administrations, various probes were done by both houses of Congress months after the disaster happened.