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Vilma Santos, 5 Batangas solons file P30B supplementary budget bill for Taal rehab

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

House Deputy Speaker Vilma Santos-Recto together with five other congressmen from Batangas have backed President Rodrigo Duterte’s request for a P30-billion supplemental budget to help finance the ongoing relief and rehabilitation efforts in areas devastated by Taal volcano explosion.

During the plenary session held at the Batangas City Convention Center on Wednesday, Santos-Recto led the filing House Bill No. 5998 “that seeks to allocate P30 billion to fund the much need support to families and communities affected by the eruption of Taal volcano to include immediate relief to affected individuals and families.”

HB 5998’s explanatory note mentioned that the latest Taal eruption has already affected 68,439 families or 271,278 individuals, of which almost 39,000 individuals or about 148,500 individuals are currently taking shelter in 497 evacuation centers across the Southern Tagalog region.

House Committee on Ways and Means chair Joey Salceda (Albay) earlier said the Duterte government will be needing about between P60 billion to P100 billion for its ongoing relief and rehabilitation efforts for the areas affected by Taal Volcano’s explosion.

Under HB 5998, the P30-billion supplementary budget “shall be used exclusively” to augment aid, relief, resettlement, rehabilitation, and reconstruction for residents displaced due to Taal’s seismic activities.

The funds that will be used for the program will be appropriated “out of any available funds in the national treasury.”

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