By Glen S. Ramos/Benjamin F. Cuaresma
MANILA — A total of five Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) teams were deployed today (Monday, 05 July 2021) by the Department of Health (DOH) CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) that will provide psychosocial support to the communities of the 12 municipalities affected by the continuing unrest of Taal volcano.
The MHPSS teams will be visiting evacuation centers in the towns of Alitagtag, Balayan, Balete, Laurel, Agoncillo, San Nicolas, Talisay, San Jose and Tanauan in the province of Batangas.
According to OIC-Regional Director Paula Paz M. Sydiongco, the teams will be providing psychological first aid to affected evacuees including senior citizens and persons with disabilities.
“Disasters such as this can affect an individual’s emotional instability including stress reactions, anxiety and trauma. We have to assist these individuals and give them support and guidance in order for them to cope and be able to reorganize their lives.”
“With the proper mental health support, they can be assisted with compassion, knowledge, and respect,” Sydiongco stated.
The MHPSS teams are composed of doctors, psychologists, health promotion officers, and nurses trained in providing psychological first aid and mental health and psychosocial support.
Mass Covid-19 vaccination led by DOH Secretary Francisco T. Duque III together with the Batangas provincial government were also conducted today in the town of Agoncillo targeting around 1,200 Taal evacuees who were residing in the evacuation centers since July 1, 2021.
The Batangas provincial disaster risk reduction and management office estimated about 1,034 families or 3,450 individuals are now in evacuation centers in Nasugbu, Balayan, Agoncillo, Balete, Laurel, and Alitagtag. At least 608 families or 2,230 individuals are staying with their relatives in nearby municipalities as of July 5, 2021.
Taal Volcano in the province of Batangas is still under Alert Level 3, which means there is magmatic unrest or movement of magma that may further drive succeeding eruptions according to PHILVOCS. (AI/MTVN)