Kim announced the assistance during a visit to an evacuation center in Nasugbu, Batangas.
Twitter/Ambassador Sung Kim
US earmarks P5.1 million for Taal relief
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - January 23, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The US government will provide P5.1 million in relief assistance for communities affected by Taal Volcano’s continuing activity, Ambassador Sung Kim announced yesterday.

Kim announced the assistance during a visit to an evacuation center in Nasugbu, Batangas.

The US government, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID)’s partner World Vision, will provide relief supplies including soap, sleeping mats and blankets to over 7,500 people sheltered at the Nasugbu West Central School evacuation centers.

The assistance complements existing support to transport emergency supplies to evacuees, provide technical assistance to manage evacuation centers and lend specialized equipment and analytic support to monitor Taal Volcano.

Kim joined the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) partners in distributing supplies to evacuees in Calatagan, where he spoke with the evacuees.

“I’m inspired by the strength and resilience of these families who faced such devastation and loss following the volcanic eruption,” Kim said.  

“As friends, partners and allies to the Philippines, we will continue to support our Philippine government counterparts as they work to address the needs of those communities most affected by the eruption,” he said.

In Calatagan, Kim thanked PDRF companies for assisting the evacuees.  

“I have been very encouraged to see the private sector – American companies alongside Philippine companies – mobilize to address urgent needs of communities following the Taal volcanic eruption,” Kim said.  

The PDRF is a major private sector vehicle and coordinator for disaster management in the country. 

Vice President Leni Robredo holds up the ‘Lugaw Leni’ sign during a visit to Barangay Bolbok in Tuy, Batangas on Tuesday, where she served merienda for residents affected by Taal Vol-cano’s unrest.

Libreng Tawag

To help families affected by Taal Volcano’s continuing activity, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has launched “Libreng Tawag” Task Force.

Domestic and international calls will be available under the program for those sheltered in various evacuation centers in Cavite and Batangas, according to OWWA deputy administrator Josefino Torres.

The other day, OWWA brought two generator sets to the Alfonso Elementary School in Lemery, Batangas, where close to 2,000 evacuees are staying.

Torres said the generator would power up a mobile communication hub initially comprised of four mobile phones and a charging station.

He said the hub is OWWA’s way of assistance and care for those affected by the volcano. 

“The Libreng Tawag is open to all the evacuees, so they can contact their families, loved ones or whoever they would like to reach out to,” Torres said. 

Of the four lines opened for the evacuees, two lines will be used for international calls.

The OWWA is providing free WiFi service for evacuees whose contacts can only be reached through social media and email.

An OFW help desk was established for evacuees who were OFWs or with OFW relatives and to answer queries regarding programs and services of the agency such as rebates and e-card. 

 Volunteers needed

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is calling for volunteers to help speed up production of family food packs at its operation center in Pasay City.

Those interested may contact the DSWD-NROC at (02) 855-39864 or 885-28081, or through nrlms@dswd.gov.ph, for scheduling.

The DSWD said its relief operations have provided P9 million worth of food and non-food items to affected families as of yesterday morning.

The DSWD Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center said as of 6 a.m. yesterday, there were 39,052 families or 148,987 persons sheltered in 493 evacuation centers in Batangas, Cavite, Laguna and Quezon.

Another 22,808 families or 88,911 individuals are staying with their relatives or friends.

The DSWD, in coordination with the local governments of Tanauan, Cuenca and Mataasnakahoy, all in Batangas, conducted rapid damage assessment and needs analysis in affected areas.

The agency is working with the Department of Information and Communications Technology for a plan to set up mobile emergency telecommunication stations in affected provinces.

It is also working with the World Food Program for the provision of mobile storage units for relief operations.

Toll-free

The Manila-Cavite Expressway and Cavitex C5 Link Flyover will be toll-free to vehicles carrying relief goods for Taal victims, the Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. announced yesterday.?

MPTC-unit Cavitex Infrastructure Corp. (CIC) and its joint venture partner Philippine Reclamation Authority are granting toll-free passage to vehicles carrying relief goods upon prior coordination.?

The move is in support of the ongoing relief operations of various government agencies, private groups and individuals for victims of Taal Volcano’s activity.?

The CIC said private individuals or groups should request for free passage of toll road through email to Cavitex or Cavitex C5 Link Flyover customer service at cx_customerservice@cavitexpressway.com.

?The email should indicate the name of organization, address, target date of passage, plate number, vehicle color, destination-point of origin and exit point.?

Vehicles of a private group that is part of the convoy of legitimate rescue group, such as but not limited to police, the military or Red Cross, will be granted free pass without request.

Meanwhile, the provincial and city governments of Negros Occidental and Bacolod will give P6 million and P1 million, respectively, for Taal victims.

The financial aid was in response to a call for help issued by Bishops Patricio Buzon and Gerardo Alminaza of Bacolod and San Carlos cities, respectively.

The 1,971 personnel of the provincial police will share at least 50 percent of their rice allowance with the victims of Taal.

These personnel are receiving P650 in monthly rice allowance, which is equivalent to 20 kilos.

Mayor Evelio Leonardia said the city disaster risk reduction and management council approved the P6 million in assistance for the victims.

Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said the provincial disaster risk reduction and management council approved the allocation yesterday.  – With Mayen Jaymalin, Richmond Mercurio, Rainier Allan Ronda, Gilbert Bayoran

TAAL RELIEF TAAL VOLCANO
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