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Defensor urges state universities to provide shelter for Taal evacuees

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Mike Defensor urged state universities in Batangas, Cavite and Laguna to consider offering portions of their campuses as possible temporary evacuation sites for people displaced by Taal Volcano’s unrest.

Defensor said state universities may 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

“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 noted.

Defensor stressed that state universities “might be in better position to accommodate provisional shelters,” since they have more land, structures and facilities available across multiple locations compared to public elementary and high schools.

“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,” said Defensor.

The Department of Education (DepEd) earlier reported 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.

Defensor noted that Batangas State University has two main, two satellite and six extension campuses throughout the province.

Meanwhile, Cavite State University has 12 campuses province-wide, while Laguna State Polytechnic University has four campuses and several auxiliary sites, according to the chair of the House public accounts panel.

All residents within Taal’s 14-kilometer danger zone have been ordered to flee their homes and move to evacuation centers, with a total of 22,472 families, or 96,061 persons, have already been affected by Taal’s wrath.

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