Vilma Santos proposes creation of Taal Commission
In this Jan. 17, 2020 photo, Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto visits evacuees affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano in Batangas.
Facebook/Vilma Santos-Recto

Vilma Santos proposes creation of Taal Commission

Patricia Lourdes Viray (Philstar.com) - January 20, 2020 - 5:39pm

MANILA, Philippines — Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto (Batangas) proposed the creation of a commission that would assist the victims of the eruption of the Taal Volcano.

In a privilege speech Monday, Santos told her colleagues at the House of Representatives that 41,000 families or about 180,000 individuals stay in evacuation centers within and outside Batangas.

"I propose to this body for the creation of Taal Commission at the appropriate time — the relief rehabilitation and assistance of those affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano," Santos said.

Santos, also a former Batangas governor, urged Congress to make a realignment of funds in coordination with the House appropriations committee, Department of Budget and Management and other government agencies for the immediate release of funds.

This would address the crisis cost by Taal Volcano's steam-driven eruption in order to ensure the immediate rehabilitation and resettlement of those affected.

"In addition, I hope we can craft more laws that would improve our local government units' disaster preparedness capabilities so that we can ensure the safety, health and economic well-being of our people," Santos said.

Citing Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum, Santos reminded her fellow Batangueños that Alert Level 4 is still in effect over Taal Volcano, which means that an explosive eruption is still possible.

The lawmaker reiterated that residents within the 14-kilometer danger zone have to stay outside the perimeter and temporarily take shelter in evacuation centers.

The towns of Agoncillo, San Nicolas, Talisay, Balete, Mataas na Kahoy, Lemery, Laurel, Taal, part of Cuenca, Alitagtag, Sta. Teresita, San Jose, Malvar, Tanauan City, Lipa City, parts of Tagaytay City and parts of Cavite province are in high-risk zones.

Meanwhile, Santos' husband Senate Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto filed a bill seeking to create the Taal Volcano Rehabilitation and Development Commission before the Senate.

Under Senate Bill 1275, the Taal Volcano Rehabilitation and Development Fund will allocate P50 billion to provide immediate relief to affected individuals and families.

This would also establish resettlement centers, homesites and townsites for displaced families; provide livelihood and employment opportunities for residents; and construct, repair, rehabilitate or reconstruct public infrastructure needed in affected communities.

"Ultimately, this proposed measure seeks to hasten the recovery and sustain the economic development of communities affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano, with the hopes that the return to normalcy will aid not only in the economic prosperity of the Southern Tagalog Region but of the entire country as well," Recto said.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: July 11, 2021 - 9:45am

Get updates as Phivolcs issues warnings over activity in Taal Volcano. (Main photo by Philstar.com/Rosette Adel)

July 11, 2021 - 9:45am

State volcanologists record 75 volcanic earthquakes from Taal Volcano in the past 24 hours as of 5 a.m. on July 11.

Phivolcs says these include 61 volcanic tremors that lasted from one to 25 minutes with  weak background tremor.

Alert Level 3 is still raised over Taal Volcano.

July 9, 2021 - 12:16pm

Batangas Gov. Hermilando Mandanas has issued a memorandum restricting leisure travel in high-risk areas located within the 7-kilometer radius of the Taal Volcano crater.

In Memorandum Circular No. 01 Series of 2021, leisure travel to Barangays Banyaga and Bilibinwang in Agoncillo town and Barangays Buso-buso, Gulod and Bugaan East in the town of Laurel shall not be allowed. 

Prohibited activities include staycations, going to a recreational area, resort, camping, sunbathing, pool swimming, picknicking, island hopping, group water activities, partying and merriment events and other similar activities. — The STAR/Arnell Ozaeta

July 4, 2021 - 4:40pm

State volcanologists record the highest levels of volcanic sulfur dioxide from Taal Volcano.

As of Sunday afternoon, Phivolcs log at an average of 22,628 tonnes/day and a total of 26 strong and very shallow low-frequency volcanic earthquakes.

"In view of the above, DOST-PHIVOLCS is reminding the public that Alert Level 3 prevails over Taal Volcano and that current SO2 parameters indicate ongoing magmatic extrusion at the Main Crater that may further drive succeeding explosions," Phivolcs says in an advisory.

July 4, 2021 - 9:07am

Alert Level 3 is still raised over Taal Volcano as Phivolcs records 31 volcanic earthquakes and weak background tremor in the past 24 hours.

Entering Taal Volcano Island and high-risk barangays Agoncillo and Laurel, as well as sailing through Taal Lake, is still prohibited.

Phivolcs warns that pyroclastic density currents or base surge, volcanic tsunami and ashfall are possible.

July 2, 2021 - 11:49am

The government has activated Joint Task Force Taal to help with evacuation and potential relief operations, the Palace says Friday, June 2.

Police and Coast Guard units have also been put on alert for humanitarian and disaster relief operations.

"The Department of Social Welfare and Development Region 4-A is on heightened alert and has stockpiles of relief support consisting of food packs amounting to P1.4 million and non-food items worth P11 million," presidential spokesperson Harry Roque also says.

"We ask residents in the areas surrounding the volcano lake to remain vigilant, take precautionary measures, cooperate with their local authorities should the need for evacuation arise," he also says.

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