Batangas gov't identifies relocation site for displaced Volcano Island residents

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 30 2020 12:14 PM | Updated as of Jan 30 2020 12:26 PM

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MANILA - The provincial government of Batangas has identified relocation sites for the 10,000 permanently displaced residents of “pulo” or Volcano Island in Batangas.

"The immediate alternative of the provincial government is to relocate the people or inhabitants of pulo to mainland. We have already identified a temporary dwelling place, a relocation site in Ibaan, Batangas," Batangas Vice Governor Mark Leviste said on ANC's Headstart. 

Leviste said the National Housing Authority (NHA) developed more than one thousand homes in these sites, initially intended for military and police personnel.

"However, because of this situation, pinahiram muna sa amin. Kami na po ang nag-finish," he said. 

Provincial engineers installed facilities and public utilities in the relocation site, he said.

He added there are now more than 60 families or around 200 people staying there.

However, the vice governor said there are still many evacuees who decided to remain in evacuation centers.

"We, up to now, are maintaining 328 evacuation centers around the province," he said.

Leviste has also appealed for more help from the national and local government, and also to the private sector in rebuilding areas affected by the Taal volcano's eruption.

President Rodrigo Duterte last week urged Congress to pass a P30-billion supplemental budget for the government's response to the Taal volcano eruption. 

However on Thursday, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said that funding may no longer be needed.

"Kasi yung P30-billion kung sumabog. Ngayon po, yung pangangailangan doon siguro po masasagot na ng ating NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council) fund na P16-billion at may P7-billion balance tayo last year," Salceda said.

Leviste said he respects the congressman's views with regard to the supplemental budget in relation to an actual alert level 5 eruption.

"But the damage is extensive and if I'm not mistaken, agriculture alone has already reached P3.4-billion in loss," said Leviste.

He said he would leave it up to the national government to decide where the P30-billion supplemental funding would go.

Leviste said they are currently identifying properties owned by the provincial government for housing and then would focus also on livelihood to help those who lost agricultural produce and livestock.