MANILA – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in Calabarzon recently turned over livelihood assistance for Taal Volcano evacuees, an executive said.
The local government unit (LGU) of Laurel, Batangas, received a plastic densifier to help establish a plastic blocks production enterprise. Talisay LGU, on the other hand, received fishing equipment.
“These are meant to be used once they (evacuees) return to their residences. Significantly, the project (not just aim to) provide them with immediate relief, but a long-term and sustainable livelihood,” Emy Bagsit, OIC Office of the Director, told the Philippine News Agency in an interview over the weekend.
The DOST, she said, allocated over PHP1.5 million for the livelihood assistance in Laurel. Some PHP1.1 million of the budget will be used for hollow blocks production, while PHP467,500 will be for plastic blocks production.
Two people’s organizations with 15 members each from Brgy. Molinete will be the direct beneficiaries of this project, she said.
“Plastic blocks, similar to concrete blocks, can be used for pavements. The plastic densifier can also be used to make pots, chairs, and tabletops. Because not all kinds of plastics are suitable for the densifier, part of our project is to use shredded plastics as a component in hollow blocks production. These hollow blocks will be given to the LGU Laurel,” she remarked.
Bagsit added that there is a market for plastic blocks, particularly those in the garden and landscaping businesses. “The LGU Laurel could also partner with hardware stores to make these available in the market. Plastic blocks will also be used in the government’s projects such as beautification of tourist destinations,” she continued.
As for the fishing equipment, Bagsit clarified that only fishing activities in the Taal Volcano Island (TVI) is prohibited.
“Phivolcs (Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology) gives the advisory as to when fishing activities should be prohibited in the lake because of volcanic activities,” she said. They (residents) could do fishing and this also serves as their main source of livelihood,” she said.
Fishing equipment such as gillnets were turned over to Talisay’s fisherfolks to help revive fishing livelihood activities and contribute to the fisheries sector and socio-economic recovery of LGU Talisay.
About 60 fishermen are expected to benefit from this project that costs PHP573,000.
Taal Volcano has been under Alert Level 3 (magmatic unrest) since July 1, as a phreatomagmatic eruption — a result of the interaction between magma and water — occurred at the main crater in the afternoon.
Phivolcs earlier recommended complete evacuation at the TVI, Taal Lake, and villages in Agoncillo (Banyaga, Bilibinwang), and Laurel (Gulod, Boso-Boso, Lakeshore Bugaan East), due to possible hazards of pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami.
Volcanic smog poses a health hazard by aggravating preexisting respiratory ailments, while prolonged exposure to sulfur dioxide gas may cause sore throat and difficulty in breathing. (PNA)