Probe Phivolcs? Probe slash in calamity fund too - lawmaker

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 20 2020 06:27 PM

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A party-list lawmaker on Monday defended the state seismology agency from criticisms it failed to warn residents and local government units about Taal's impending eruption.

This, as some congressmen are pushing for an investigation into the agency's alleged shortcomings.

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate said government seismologists are operating well amid the limits of their equipment and budgets.

"I think that's too premature at this point. Ang [Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology] in the past talagang ginagawa ang trabaho nila... With their limitations, I think our scientists sa Phivolcs talagang ginawa nilang kailangan nilang gawin," he said in an interview on ANC.

"Kung merong investigation there should be investigation dito sa disaster, di lang doon sa Phivolcs kung hindi doon rin sa usapin ng bakit ba na-slash 'yung budget for disaster for this year. Talagang dapat hindi tinapyasan. Kung may tatapyasan man, dapat 'yung budget ng gera, hindi budget for calamity. P4 billion ang nawala we are only in January now," he added.

Lawmakers earlier reduced the calamity fund for 2020 by P4 billion to only P16 billion.

Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda has said the Philippine government will have to spend as much as P100 billion to rehabilitate areas affected by the Taal Volcano eruption.

Zarate, meanwhile, pushed for the construction of permanent evacuation centers in village clusters across the country to prevent class disruptions when schools are being used as temporary shelters.

"The Philippines is in the Ring of Fire. Disasters are happening more often and typhoons become stronger because of climate change. I think it's really very important now to build permanent evacuation centers," he said.

ANC, January 20, 2020