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Recto: Returning Taal residents need a ‘VFA’ or volcano financing assistance

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Rehabilitation is always harder than relief work.

Senator Ralph Recto made the statement on Monday as he sought financial aid for victims of the Taal Volcano eruption – majority of whom were from his home province of Batangas.

The Senate President Pro Tempore said that “relief is about bringing food and providing food to temporarily displaced people.”

“Rehabilitation is about restoring the means by which they can permanently survive on their own again,” Recto said.

“It is easy to pack grocery bags. What is hard is to package new livelihood for those whose income sources Taal has blown away,” he said.

He added, “Even if the crisis is over, large swaths of temporarily designated ‘No Man’s Lands’ will be become ‘Lands of No Return.’ What will happen to the thousands of internal refugees?”

“Doon sa mga nawalan ng bahay at hanapbuhay, ang tanong nila, ‘Mayroon na bang kahit katiting na VFA – volcano financing assistance – na idadagdag namin sa aming sipag at tiyaga na bumangon muli?’” he said.

“What now are the national government’s plans for the post-eruption period? In a Cabinet supposedly staffed by the best and the brightest, who is the designated go-to guy for Taal rehabilitation?” Recto asked.

“Kahit sa linis phase pa lang, who will dispatch the equipment that will aid the local folk in the clean up? Are projects being prepared, funds being identified for reconstruction phase?” he stressed.

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