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Villanueva: Gov’t should appoint czar to handle Taal eruption relief efforts

/ 11:01 AM January 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The government should appoint a disaster czar to oversee the relief efforts in the province of Batangas for displaced residents amid the eruption of the Taal Volcano, Senator Joel Villanueva said.

Villanueva issued the call following reports which showed that relief goods such as food and hygiene packs, among others, were unevenly distributed in various evacuation centers.

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“Some evacuation centers have more than other places. If people are expected to stay longer in these evacuation centers, we must be able to manage our available resources well so we can cover the basic needs of our evacuees,” Villanueva said in a statement on Wednesday.

“For instance, we’ve observed that there’s a lack of portalets to maintain the sanitation around evacuation centers. We need a manager to assess the needs and look after the delivery of relief across affected areas,” he pointed out.

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Villanueva, who chairs the Senate labor committee, also suggested to device ways of spurring economic activity in areas affected by the Taal eruption.

One way to jumpstart the local economy is to generate short-term employment to evacuees at shelters, he said.

“If you’re sending relief to certain evacuation centers, why not hire someone there to take charge in the cooking of food for the people there? Or maintain the place for that matter?” he said.

“We should strive to help our people displaced by the eruption of Taal get back on their feet through employment and livelihood,” he added.

The senator also called on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to fast-track its emergency employment programs to support evacuees while waiting out for the crisis to end.

He noted that under the 2020 national budget, DOLE’s programs for emergency employment received a total allocation of P6.8 billion.

Villanueva also urged officials of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) to provide assistance in the form of scholarships for evacuees who lost everything when they were displaced.

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The bulk of Tesda’s P12.975-billion budget for 2020, he said, funds the various scholarship programs it offers.

Edited by MUF
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TAGS: Batangas, disaster czar, Nation, news, Senator Joel Villanueva, Taal Volcano eruption
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