Villanueva laments uneven relief distribution, sanitation issues at Taal evacuation centers


SEn. Joel Villanueva

MANILA, Philipines — Senator Joel Villanueva has called on the government on Wednesday to appoint a disaster czar who will oversee the relief efforts in Batangas for residents displaced by the eruption of Taal Volcano.

Villanueva broached the idea after reports showed that relief goods such as food and hygiene packs, among others, were unevenly distributed in various evacuation centers where thousands of displaced residents were taking shelter as the restive Taal volcano showed signs of erupting in early January.

“Some evacuation centers have more than other places. If people are expected to stay longer in these evacuation centers, we must be able to manage our available resources well so we can cover the basic needs of our evacuees,” Villanueva said in a statement.

“For instance, we’ve observed that there’s a lack of portalets to maintain the sanitation around evacuation centers. We need a manager to assess the needs and look after the delivery of relief across affected areas,” said Villanueva.

The senator, who heads the Senate labor committee, likewise suggested to device ways of spurring economic activity in areas affected by the constant volcanic activities of Taal. He explained that one way to jumpstart the local economy is to generate short-term employment to evacuees at shelters.

“If you’re sending relief to certain evacuation centers, why not hire someone there to take charge in the cooking of food for the people there? Or maintain the place for that matter?” Villanueva pointed out.


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