MANILA – The government will build three evacuation sites in Batangas province.
Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) Secretary Eduardo del Rosario led the inspection of construction sites in the towns of Sta. Teresita and Alitagtag on Friday.
On July 1, residents of 13 barangays within the 14-kilometer radius danger zone of Taal Volcano started evacuating after Alert Level 3 was raised.
“This is a very important project, especially for Batangas, because the Taal Volcano will always be like that. It is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Kaya itong evacuation center ay kailangang ma-itayo (That’s why we need to build this evacuation) because it will be used as long as it (Taal) still stands,” del Rosario said during the groundbreaking in Sta. Teresita.
“I hope this building will provide shelter to evacuees for at least 50 years. So kailangan ang standard mapanatili natin (We need to maintain the standards),” he added.
Del Rosario instructed Jann Roby Otero, head of the DHSUD Regional Office 4A (Calabarzon), to conduct regular inspections to make sure that the best quality of construction materials will be used for the facility in Barangay Calayaan.
On the same day, a groundbreaking ceremony was also held in Barangay San Juan in Alitagtag.
The activities came barely two months after the signing of the Taal Commitment Agreement between DHSUD and Batangas local government units affected the eruption in January 202.
Under the initial pact, an evacuation center will be built in Mataasnakahoy, where a resettlement site will also rise for families displaced by the eruption last year.
Del Rosario assured the chosen locations are suitable for disaster preparedness.
“What we are doing now is actually part of the preparation for the long-term. Kasi hindi naman ang bulkan ay paminsan-minsan lang (sumabog) or isa o dalawa sa isang taon. It will continue to be there and might explode anytime,” the housing czar said.
As of the 8 a.m. bulletin of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, the Taal Volcano Network recorded eight volcanic earthquakes, including two low-frequency volcanic earthquakes, five volcanic tremor events having durations of one to two minutes, and low-level background tremor that has persisted since Wednesday.
The Taal Volcano Island remains a Permanent Danger Zone and entry into the island as well as into the high-risk villages of Agoncillo and Laurel is prohibited due to the hazards of pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami should strong eruptions occur.
All activities in Taal Lake are also disallowed. (PNA)