MANILA - Local government units should use their calamity funds to help thousands of evacuees who fled the wrath of Taal volcano, an official of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said Tuesday.
NDRRMC Executive Director, Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad said national government agencies like the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Office of the Civil Defense and Department of Health are currently using their remaining quick response fund for 2019.
"Yung mga LGUs naman, meron din sila...Wala namang declaration ng state of calamity so meron sila sa kanilang trust fund, 'yung accumulated quick response fund. Sana magamit din 'yan," Jalad said on DZMM.
While donations keep pouring in for affected residents of Batangas, Jalad said LGUs in the province should use their funds to aid evacuees.
"Sa presentation ni Sec. [Wendel] Avisado noong meeting sa Batangas, estimate niya sa buong Batangas, kasama na 'yung probinsya at local government units affected or host LGUs, about P400-billion of calamity fund ang nand'yan na kailangang magamit, pinakaunang magamit sana bago pumasok itong pondo ng national government agencies," he said.
The eruption of Taal volcano, a popular destination among local and foreign tourists, forced tens of thousands of residents to flee their homes last January 12, 2020.
Many of them are staying in various evacuation centers outside affected municipalities. The host LGUs manage the evacuation centers supported by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Health.
"Ang matinding problem dito hindi doon sa evacuation center, kung 'di yung nakatira sa labas ng evacuation centers kasi kalat-kalat sila," he said.
Jalad also urged affected LGUs to mobilize their officials to help validate and profile residents in evacuation centers.
He added that the government is looking at possible real estate outside affected areas as possible relocation sites for residents who will no longer be allowed to return to their homes.
Meanwhile, the disaster official also appealed to the public to continue trusting the advisories issued by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).
This, after the vice mayor of Talisay town appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday to allow his constituents to return home even as state seismologists warned that a hazardous Taal Volcano eruption is still possible.
"Bahala na ang DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) to act on that comment of a local official. Siguro kailangang ma-educate siya, pakinggan niya ang assessment ng Phivolcs at back up naman ito ng science-based 'yung assessment ng Phivolcs," he said.