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Rehabilitation and resettlement master plan sought for Taal-affected communities

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

A neophyte lawmaker has urged the national government to come up with a “comprehensive plan containing the total financial requirements for the relief, rehabilitation, and resettlement” of the communities affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano last month.

Bahay Party-list Rep. Naealla Bainto Aguinaldo recently filed a resolution calling on the national government to conduct an assessment of the damage caused by the Taal eruption that has displaced close to 500,000 residents.

Aguinaldo, a native of Taal, Batangas herself stressed the importance of taking these steps in order to maxmize the financial resources that will made available for rehab initiatives.

“The priority now is to accurately evaluate the extent of the damage as a whole so that a comprehensive long-term plan can be put together at the soonest possible time,” said Aguinaldo.

Aguinaldo, who served as undersecretary in the Department of Justice and the Office of the President before joining the House, said that “the plan should go beyond repairing and restoring existing infrastructure.

“This should not only include projects that will help affected areas recover from effects of the latest eruption, the plan should also involve putting in place infrastructure to help prepare them for future eruptions,” said Aguinaldo

According to Aguinaldo, the rehab plan should provide local government units in high-risk areas with the resources needed so they can immediately respond in the event Taal erupts again.

At present, of the 482,925 individuals affected by the Taal eruption there are still 23,915 people taking shelter in 152 evacuation centers, while the remainder have been allowed to return to their homes.

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