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Salceda eyes creation of rehab commission for Taal-affected areas

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said he an ad hoc body should oversee the ongoing relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction efforts for the towns affected by the Taal Volcano eruption.

“Importante magkaroon ng rehab commission (and) reconstruction commission,” said Salceda during a news forum in Quezon City.

Salceda noticed that the government’s contingency plan in case of a sudden volcanic eruption just like in Taal hasn’t been fully applied or implemented at all as displaced residents doesn’t know what to do following heavy ashfall in the so-called danger zones due to Taal explosion last Sunday.

“Meron pa akong isang bagay na masasabi na hindi naman makakasakit… bakit ang contingency plan mukhang hindi sinunod? Baka wala? Kasi kung meron, tulad ng hazard or disaster automatic alam dapat kung saan dadalhin ang mga tao,” said Salceda.

“Mga tao nagsarili nag evacute themselves… safe families make safe communities,” he added.

Salceda stressed that he won’t allow the passage of the proposed Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) without including the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvocs) in the new government agency.

“Gapat gawin ng Congress, ipasa na ang DDR… sa mga nangyaring earthquake mukhang hindi na po namin mapapayagan na ang hilvolcs ay hindi pasok sa DDR,” said Salceda.

On Thursday, Salceda who chairs the powerful House committee on ways and means recommended that Congress should pass a supplemental budget since the national government will have to spend at least between P60 billion to P100 billion for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of communities affected by Taal.

Members of the bicameral conference committee last December have slashed a total of P9-billion from the country’s disaster funds under the 2020 National Budget.

From the original P16.5 billion, both members of the Senate and House panels agreed to only allocate a total of P7.5 billion to the National Disaster Reduction and Management Fund (NDRMF) under the 2020 General Appropriations Act (GAA).

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