Duterte offers Taal evacuees housing for police, military
Asking the military and the police to “step aside,” President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to give thousands of housing units initially constructed for them to survivors of the Taal Volcano eruption.
“We’ll now address the challenges of the Taal people. But you might want to know that I have, I think almost 1,000 [houses], I’ve been building mostly for the military,” Mr. Duterte said during the oath-taking of government officials in Malacañang on Thursday night.
“(W)hen there is an emergency and when there is a need to provide shelter and there is none, I’ll always have the military step aside,” the President added.
The Chief Executive, however, reassured the military and police that he would construct better housing for them in exchange for them giving up their completed housing units to affected Taal residents.
“(L)et me get back to you with a more … I really meant it for you, but Taal happened,” he said.
Mr. Duterte added: “Of course (the housing units are) not really that near. (They’re) far but I have a thousand, I think, available.”
The President made the remarks a day after the Palace announced that 5,448 housing units initially constructed for the military and the police will be offered to around 6,000 families displaced by the Jan. 12 eruption of Taal Volcano.
No weekend classes
Also in Taal, public schools forced to suspend classes for three weeks in January because of the volcano’s eruption are not required to hold weekend classes to make up for lost time, a teachers’ group said on Thursday.
The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) said Batangas schools division head Merthel Evardome has allowed teachers to simply extend school hours on weekdays if they believe it would work better than Saturday classes.
The Department of Education (DepEd) had previously proposed that affected schools hold makeup classes every Saturday until the school year ends on April 6.
But the TDC said the makeup classes could be modified on a case-by-case basis in Batangas schools.
“The Saturday makeup classes will not be strictly enforced,” the group said in a statement. “School heads can be creative with their solutions, like extending class hours by a few minutes between Monday and Friday.”
The DepEd has listed 1,034 public schools with 575,456 students and 17,494 personnel as being affected by the tumult at Taal last month. —With a report from Matthew Reysio-Cruz
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