Former Vice President and United Nationalists Alliance (UNA) party senatorial bet Jejomar Binay on Monday said the government must ensure the long-term rehabilitation of communities affected by the recurrence of the Taal Volcano eruptions.
Binay said the affected families have yet to fully recover from Taal’s eruptions in 2020. Some 4,000 residents were reportedly displaced by the volcano’s current eruptions.
“To date, many residents who evacuated due to the volcanic eruptions in 2020 are still unemployed,” Binay said.
“They have lost their jobs and source of livelihood. And those who were evacuated from danger zones have not been provided with new homes,” he added.
During his recent visit to these areas in February, Binay said residents had complained that they have not been provided housing and livelihood opportunities as promised by the national government.
Binay said aside from helping residents with their basic needs, the national government must also implement a long-term program to help the affected residents and their communities.
In March last year, the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) told a House hearing that 86 per cent – or P36.1 billion – of the P42 billion allocated for the rehabilitation program for Taal has not been funded.
A NEDA official had said priority funding was given to programs to fight COVID-19, that and revenue collections were low.
Binay said with the economy starting to recover, the government should prioritize the rehabilitation of Taal communities, as well as those devastated by typhoon Odette.
Communities in Central Visayas devastated by typhoon Odette were still struggling to restore services and repair damaged infrastructure, while most residents have yet to find jobs, he said.
“If there is a disaster or tragedy, the government must be there. The government should not only provide those affected by calamities their basic needs but also the resources for their long-term recovery,” he said.
“Immediate action is needed. The lives and future of our countrymen are at stake here,” he added.