By Genalyn Kabiling and Dhel Nazario
The government is preparing to look for resettlement sites for displaced residents after President Duterte declared Taal Volcano Island off limits to people.
The planned relocation program came as the government moved to strictly implement the President’s directive to keep the Taal Volcano Island as “no man’s land” to ensure public safety.
“Hahanapan natin kung saan lugar puwede. Marami pa naman lupa ang Pilipinas (We will look for possible places. There are many lands available in the Philippines),” Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said during a Palace press briefing.
He said the government will also set aside ample budget for the relocation efforts for those staying in the Taal Volcano Island.
For now, Panelo said the affected residents must stay in temporary evacuation centers following the unrest of Taal Volcano. Authorities earlier warned of possible hazardous explosive eruption of the volcano due to escalating volcanic activity. People within the 14 kilometer danger zone around the volcano have been advised to evacuate the area.
He noted that the President has ordered that the construction of permanent evacuation centers initially in calamity-prone areas must be completed before the end of his term in 2022
Help from Makati
To assist residents in evacuation centers, Makati Mayor Abigail Binay said the city government will send this coming Sunday a super tanker, two penetrator fire trucks, water filtration system, mobile shower, vacuum tanker, gensets, mobile kitchen, jerry cans, and some 1,000 mats to Bauan, Batangas to help thousands of evacuees.
“We are mobilizing vital equipment to address the urgent needs of thousands of families displaced by the sudden eruption of Taal Volcano. The ordeal of evacuees from identified danger zones in Laguna and Batangas is far from over, and we would like to help ease their suffering by giving them access to potable water and power supply, among other necessities,” Mayor Binay said.
The mayor said the super tanker, which has a water storage capacity equivalent to the load of eight fire trucks, will be used to carry water that will pass through the city-provided water filtration system, in order to provide potable water supply to the evacuees.
The mobile kitchen, on the other hand, is ideal for mass food production as it allows for the preparation of at least 800 meals per operation. With its weather protection features and built-in chimney, it also ensures food safety and quality, the mayor added.
The city is also sending its mobile shower facility that provides needed privacy for residents while taking a decent shower. Also to be deployed is a vacuum tanker that will be used to collect sludge from the mobile shower.
On the mayor’s orders, the Makati Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has designated a composite team to handle the transport of vehicles and equipment to the town of Bauan in Batangas, and duly coordinate with the concerned DRRM Councils on the target location.
READ MORE: Makati to send disaster response vehicles, equipment to assist Taal evacuees