No budget yet for displaced Taal residents — NHA chief
MANILA, Philippines — Since the Taal volcano eruption in January, the National Housing Authority (NHA) has not yet received any budget for the relocation of displaced residents in the affected province.
At a budget hearing in the Senate on Wednesday, NHA General Manager Marcelino Escalada Jr. also disclosed that no budget for the Taal relocation has been allotted in the agency’s proposed 2021 budget.
“For 2020 and 2021, we have not received any allocation for Taal,” Escalada said when Senator Nancy Binay asked how much was spent already for the Taal relocation.
“But as an option and strategy your honor, we have opened up our inventory for the Taal evacuees,” the NHA chief added.
Escalada pointed out that there are close to 10,000 available housing units in the provinces of Batangas, Cavite and Laguna that are being offered to the evacuees.
And about 600 evacuees, he said, had already been relocated in Ibaan, Batangas while the rest have decided to stay in Batangas.
“So there is no direct funds yet coming from DBM [Department of Budget and Management] that went to NHA for 2020 and even for 2021,” Escalada reiterated.
Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Eduardo del Rosario told senators that 2, 600 houses had been totally damaged caused by the eruption while 14,565 houses had been partially damaged.