Duterte leads distribution of assistance to families affected by Taal eruption

Maris Federez   •   January 20, 2020   •   658

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday (Jan. 20) led the distribution of assistance to families affected by the Taal eruption in Sto. Tomas in Batangas.

Relief goods coming from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and hygiene kits, sleeping mats and coffee seedlings from the Department of Agriculture (DA) were just some of the relief assistance given to the families in Sto. Tomas during the President’s visit.

The DA and the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) also handed out financial assistance to farmers who were affected by the ashfall.

The President also said he has given instruction to the National Housing Authorities (NHA) to assist families in rebuilding their homes.

The chief executive said that with the current activity of the Taal volcano, evacuees may have to stay at the evacuation centers for a much longer time.

“Alam mo sa nakita ko at itong Taal na ito pangmatagalan ito. Kaya in the meantime, magpaplano tayo kung paano — how you would negotiate from the time na nandito kayo hanggang pag-uwi ninyo. Malaking pera ‘yan. Pero ang gobyerno may pera. May pera ang gobyerno para tumulong,” the President said.

The President also underscored the need for a supplemental budget to sustain the restoration of houses and the provision of livelihood projects for the thousands of families affected by Taal.

He explained that the current budget does not include expenditures for the devastating calamity.

Duterte said he may also have to ask the help of the National Treasurer to aid in such measures.

According to records, the eruption has already caused damage to agriculture amounting to around Php3-billion.

After seeing the state of the evacuees at the gymnasium of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, the President urged Congress to draft measures that will lead to the building of large evacuation centers for disaster-prone areas.

“Wala tayong pagkukulang, ang problema lang itong accommodations ninyo. Kaya I am urging Congress na sa lahat ng mga prone areas ng disaster […] magkaroon ng evacuation center na malalaki. Lalo na yung probinsya na nakaharap sa Pacific Ocean and that would be Samar, Isabela, Cagayan, yun ang nakaharap dun, pati dito,” the President said.

He also stressed that Congress must prioritize allotting funds for the construction of the evacuation centers as the project should have already been started as a major eruption of the volcano is imminent.

The President assured that the government has funds available for assistance efforts that he will make sure that appropriate amount will be given to affected families. — (from the report of Vincent Arboleda) /mbmf

Phivolcs lowers Taal Volcano alert to level 1

UNTV News   •   March 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Thursday said it has downgraded the alert on Taal Volcano to level 1 following the decrease in volcanic quakes and surface activity at the main crater.

In its bulletin, Phivolcs said the Taal Volcano’s condition in the succeeding four weeks after its alert was lowered to level 2, has been characterized by low-level volcanic earthquake activity, stabilizing ground deformation of the Taal Caldera and the Taal Volcano Island edifices, and weak surface activity at the Main Crater and the Daang Kastila fissure.

“DOST-PHIVOLCS is lowering the alert status of Taal Volcano from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 1 to reflect the overall decreasing trend in the level of monitoring parameters,” its bulletin reads.

State volcanologists said that alert level 1 means that the volcano is still in “abnormal condition,” and that this “should not be interpreted that unrest has ceased or that the threat of an eruption has disappeared.”

Under alert level 1, sudden steam-driven or phreatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes, minor ashfall and lethal accumulations or expulsions of volcanic gas can occur and threaten areas within the Taal Volcano Island.

The alert level may be raised back to alert level 2 “should pronounced change in monitored parameters forewarn of renewed unrest,” Phivolcs said.

The agency reminded residents that entry to Taal’s permanent danger zone, especially the vicinities of the Main Crater and the Daang Kastila fissure, remains strictly prohibited. 

The Taal Volcano was placed under alert level 4 when it spewed ash on January 12 which sent thousands of residents to temporary shelters and disrupted businesses in surrounding areas.

It was later lowered to alert level 2 several weeks later due to decreased unrest. — ROBIE DE GUZMAN

UNTV Cup players to join Wish Olympics

UNTV News   •   February 21, 2020

Julius Casaysayan of Agriculture Food Masters

MANILA, Philippines — Players from UNTV Cup – the Liga of Public Servants – are set to join the Wish Olympics, a charity sports and entertainment event for the benefit of the victims of the Taal Volcano eruption.

Among the players are PNP Responders’ Mariano “Neil Perez” Flormata Jr. and Anton Tolentino, Julius Casaysayan of Agriculture Food Masters, Rod William Vasallo of PITC Global Traders and Carlo Gonzalez of GSIS Furies.

PBA Legends and UNTV Cup Commissioners Atoy Co and Ed Cordero, as well as PBA Legends Allan Caidic, Johnny Abarrientos, Jayjay Helterbrand, Chris Calaguio, and Willie Miller, will also be gracing the event and extend their support.

Spearheaded by Wish 107.5 innovator and public service advocate, Kuya Daniel Razon, Wish Olympics will be held on February 23, 2020, at Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Rod William Vasallo of PITC Global Traders

It is aimed at extending more charity works to the people of Batangas, Cavite, and Laguna who have been severely affected by the explosion of the Taal Volcano.

Since the first week of the calamity, UNTV and the Members Church of God International, together with local and national government agencies have been carrying out medical missions and relief efforts for the victims.

Razon said he realizes the enormity of the eruption’s aftermath and that it will take months before the evacuees could carry on again with their normal lives.

This, he said, prompted him to think of ways to better extend assistance to the victims, and such is by way of the said sports and entertainment event.

PNP Responders’ Mariano “Neil Perez” Flormata Jr.

It will be participated in by artists like Morisette, Imago, Clara Benin, Jayda, The Juans, The Wishfuls, Rhea Basco, Mark Herras, JayR, Rayver Cruz, Ejay Falcon, Young JV, Jordan Herrera, Adrian Alandy, James Blanco, Albie Casino, Gerhard Acao and Axel Torres.

Professional volleyball players and TV/movie personalities such as Gretchen Ho, Kathy Bersola, Claudia Barretto, Gwen Zamora, Roma Joy Doromal, Che Sindayen, Jem Ferrer, Patcharee Saengmuang, Sandy Delos Santos, Aya Fernandez, Casey Da Silva, Ana Gopico, Amanda Villanueva, Nicole Tiamzon, Heather Guino-o, and Erika Alkuino will also team up for a friendly volleyball match.

PHIVOLCS may further downgrade alert level over Taal Volcano next week

Marje Pelayo   •   February 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) reported only about 29 volcanic earthquakes around Taal Volcano in the past 24 hours, an indication that rocks underground are breaking.

A column of white steam also continues to form but only up to 50 meters in height.

It has been a week since PHIVOLCS downgraded alert level over the Taal volcano to level 2 from the previous level 3.

According to PHIVOLCS OIC Usec. Renato Solidum, they need to observe Taal volcano’s activities for one more week before they can decide whether to further downgrade the alert status based on the agency’s standard operating procedure.

“Basta tuloy-tuloy ang kanyang mga parametro na bumababa ang bilang pwede natin masabi na pwede nating ibaba ito sa alert level number one (If the parameters continue to reduce in number, we might lower the alert level to number one),” Solidum said.

Entry restrictions remain within the permanent danger zone in Taal Volcano Island.

Solidum said the local government unit needs to assess first if the former residential areas would be conducive for living.

PHIVOLCS does not recommended constructing houses on the volcano island due to the risk of having the ground break apart should the volcano proceed to erupt. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

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