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Vilma Santos proposes creation of Taal Commission

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com
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

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.

RALPH RECTO

TAAL VOLCANO

TAAL VOLCANO ERUPTION 2020

VILMA SANTOS RECTO

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: October 21, 2022 - 2:43pm

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

October 21, 2022 - 2:43pm

DOST-Phivolcs issues a notice of low-level phreatomagmatic activity in Taal Volcano after it recorded 19 phreatomagmatic bursts of the Taal Main Crater between 8:50 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Friday.

“Some of these events produced 200-meter-tall steam-rich plumes with a few emanating from very short dark ash plumes that immediately collapsed into the Main Crater Lake,” it adds.

State volcanologists reiterates the reminder that Alert Level 1 remains hoisted over Taal Volcano, which means “it is still in abnormal condition and should not be interpreted to have ceased unrest nor ceased the threat of eruptive activity.”

July 11, 2022 - 8:25am

Phivolcs lowers Taal Volcano’s status to Alert Level 1 (Low-level unrest) from Alert Level 2 (Decreased Unrest).

State volcanologists say Taal’s condition in the last two months “has been characterized by baseline volcanic earthquake activity, stabilizing ground deformation of the Taal Caldera and Taal Volcano Island edifices and weak degassing and surface activity at the Main Crater.”

On March 26, Phivolcs escalated Taal to Alert Level 3, warning of a magmatic intrusion at the main crater. The volcano was deescalated to Alert Level 2 on April 9.

April 9, 2022 - 9:28am

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology says it has lowered Taal Volcano’s status to Alert Level 2.

March 26, 2022 - 8:44am

Phivolcs raises Alert Level 3 over Taal Volcano, which means there is magmatic intrusion that may further drive succeeding eruptions.

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.

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