MANILA, Philippines – Senator Francis Pangilinan on Wednesday said alternative livelihood and funding assistance should be provided to Taal-affected farmers and fisherfolks.
“We are seeing the Filipino Bayanihan spirit at its finest with how groups and individuals from all walks of life are coming together and pitching in whatever they can to help families and animals affected by the Taal eruption cope with the calamity,” he said.
He said local government units are responding with their resources to provide for the daily needs of the thousands of evacuees in various towns in Batangas and nearby areas.
He said it is incumbent upon the national government to do more and prepare for the long haul.
In 1754, Taal’s volcanic activity lasted for six months. Phivolcs could not predict when the current eruption would end. As we pray for safety, we should also be vigilant in being ready.
He said all hands should be on deck in dealing with this calamity.
The Department of Agriculture, he said, should make an inventory of the damages and see how it can salvage and protect crops and lands nearby that are in imminent danger.
He said there should also be a comprehensive data on the number of people whose livelihoods have been affected, so that government could map out a plan on how to help them.
“Farmers and farm workers who could not immediately return to their lands should be given alternative livelihood and funding assistance if this calamity will last for months,” he said.
Fisherfolk in Taal Lake, he said, need critical help because they source their daily food and income from the waters.
“This early, they should be assured of income assistance to prevent them from returning to the lake.”
The senator also said evacuation centers should be improved with more portalets or even permanent comfort rooms, kitchen facilities, and other needs of the evacuees.
Near the evacuation centers, he also urged setting up of refuge areas for animals and pets of the evacuees. “These animals are part of their family and source of their income.”
With regards, to health centers, he said they should also be beefed up to attend to the needs of the evacuees, especially those who are elderly, sick, and pregnant.
Furthermore, he said, makeshift classrooms should also be installed to allow the students to continue studying and so as not to waste their time in evacuation centers. (Stacy Ang/IAMIGO/Currentph.com)