MANILA, Philippines — Rep. Michael Defensor (Anakalusugan) on Sunday urged state universities in the provinces of Batangas, Cavite and Laguna to consider offering portions of their campuses as possible temporary evacuation sites for people displaced by the brewing “explosive eruption” of Taal Volcano.
State universities can decide on their own to allow the use of their open spaces as transient evacuation centers – if necessary and where feasible – while government is finding ways to establish more suitable settlements for dislocated residents,” Defensor said.
“They are autonomous administrative entities. They need not wait for any directive from the Office of the President or the Commission on Higher Education in order to act,” Defensor pointed out.
Defensor was responding to a Department of Education (DepEd) report that over 200 public elementary and high schools in Batangas and Cavite are now being used as evacuation centers, causing the stoppage of classes of students.
“Our sense is, state universities might be in better position to accommodate provisional shelters, simply because they have more land, structures and facilities available across multiple locations compared to public elementary and high schools,” Defensor said.
“This way, we can normalize classes in affected public elementary and high schools, without disrupting those in state universities that might find ways to help,” Defensor said.
Batangas State University has two main, two satellite and six extension campuses throughout the province.
Cavite State University has 12 campuses province-wide, while Laguna State Polytechnic University has four campuses and several auxiliary sites.
All residents within Taal’s 14-kilometer danger zone have been ordered to flee their homes and move to evacuation centers.
A total of 22,472 families, or 96,061 persons, have been affected.
Of those affected, a total of 16,174 families, or 70,413 persons, have been taken to temporary shelters in 300 evacuation centers, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. (STACY ANG/IAMIGO/Currentph.com)