SENATE President Vicente Sotto III on yesterday said lawmakers and policy-makers should start drawing up a comprehensive long-term plan for the rehabilitation of the province of Batangas amid the tragedy caused by the eruption of Taal Volcano.
Sotto said that while government had started implementing short-term strategies to address the immediate needs of residents affected by the eruption, these would not be enough to help the province get back on its feet.
“We have to start pooling our ideas to rehabilitate Batangas. We need permanent solutions to resolve post-disaster concerns and help Batanguenos recover,” Sotto said.
The Senate President said the government should be ready to implement rehabilitation programs once Taal Volcano quiets down and experts declare that the threat of a hazardous eruption is 100 percent over.
Sotto highlighted the need to address issues on housing, infrastructure and livelihood, which he stressed will be the top 3 concerns of the provincial government of Batangas.
Hundreds of thousands of families living in towns surrounding Taal island lost their homes when their houses got covered with thick ash after Taal Volcano erupted and spewed ash on January 12. Volcanic tremors have likewise damaged roads and bridges. Businesses have also remained closed, adversely impacting the sources of income of workers.
Sotto said the long-term rehabilitation plans should include the provision of temporary and permanent homes to affected families, repair of roads, buildings and other infrastructures, and small and medium enterprise opportunities, among others.
“Let us not forget the hard lessons we have learned from the rehabilitation of Tacloban and Marawi. We did not have ready programs to help those who were affected by these tragedies, to the chagrin of the residents who relied heavily on the government to help them get back on their feet again,” Sotto said.