President Rodrigo Duterte has placed Region 4A Calabarzon under a state of calamity to hasten relief and rescue efforts in the region, a month after it was hit by Taal Volcano’s eruption.
Under Proclamation 906 signed Feb. 21, the President declared a state of calamity in the five provinces upon the recommendation of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, which allows the national government and local executives to use funds and provide basic services to about 484,000 people affected by the eruption.
READ: Phivolcs warns danger still lurks amid Taal Volcano’s ‘calm’ state
The state of calamity will remain in force for a year unless sooner lifted in accordance with the law, according to the document released to the media Thursday.
Asked if the declaration was late, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said: “There can never be too late in declaration with respect to calamities.”
The proclamation seeks to hasten rescue, recovery, relief, and rehabilitation efforts of the government, the private sector, and the international community.
It will also allow the government to control the prices of basic goods and commodities in affected areas.
“All departments and other concerned government agencies are hereby directed to implement and execute rescue, recovery, relief, and rehabilitation work in accordance with pertinent operational plans and directives,” President Duterte said in his proclamation.
The President also ordered all departments and concerned agencies to coordinate and augment the basic services and facilities of affected local government units.
Law enforcement agencies were also ordered to undertake measures to ensure peace and order in the region.
Duterte earlier asked Congress to speed the passage of the P30-billion supplemental budget to aid displaced residents living near Taal Volcano, but lawmakers have yet to act on it.
Panelo said the Palace will not appeal to the Congress to expedite the passage of the funds, saying the lawmakers “know their job.”
Taal Volcano in Batangas continued to emit moderate steam-laden plumes rising 300 meters high before drifting southwest between Wednesday 9 p.m. and Thursday 3 a.m.
“Intermittent weak steaming activity occurred throughout the rest of the observation period,” the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said.
The Taal Volcano Network recorded 34 volcanic earthquakes associated with rock fracturing processes beneath and around the edifice.
Alert Level 2
remained over Taal Volcano.
“PHIVOLCS reminds the public that at Alert Level 2, sudden steam-driven or phreatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes, ash fall and lethal accumulations or expulsions of volcanic gas can occur and threaten areas within the Taal Volcano island and along its coast,” PHIVOLCS said.
After 42 years, Taal Volcano, on Jan. 12
, erupted again and spewed ash, prompting PHIVOLCS to raise its alert status to Alert Level 3
and later to Alert Level 4.
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