Focus on relocation of Batangas residents
This is regarding two news items: “Batangas solons file bill on P30-B supplemental budget for Taal victims” and “House OKs resolution backing supplemental budget bid for Taal blast victims” (1/22/20). The damage inflicted by the eruption of Taal Volcano in terms of economic loss may be assessed, but the harm done to the psyche of the victims directly and indirectly affected by the catastrophe cannot be fathomed. For them, life will never be the same again. The island volcano residents should not return as the danger of eruption persists. The area has twice been declared “no man’s land.” They should be relocated to a safer place, and that is where parts of the budget should go.
The volcano is sure to remain active for perhaps a thousand years or so. It will always pose a clear and present danger to life, limb, and property in the surrounding towns and cities and beyond. It is thus incumbent on the government to devise ways and means for disaster management, and allocate funds for infrastructure projects that would facilitate the rescue of residents in areas that are within harm’s reach. Damaged roads should be repaired immediately and new ones should be constructed. Evacuation centers complete with medical and sanitary facilities should be built so that evacuees need not stay in schools. There should be military camps near the danger zone equipped with rescue vehicles. Camps may also serve as evacuation centers. Soldiers should have training in rescue operations.
The cry of my fellow Batangueños—”Bangon Batangas!”, that we will rise from the ashes—is emboldening to the spirit.
The government’s disaster preparedness should enforce the people’s disaster resilience.
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