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Long-term plan for Batangas rehab sought after Taal eruption

Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Monday urged lawmakers to make a comprehensive long-term plan for the rehabilitation of Batangas province following the eruption of Taal Volcano.

Sotto said the short-term strategies that address the immediate needs of the affected residents would not be enough to help Batangas fully recover.

"We have to start pooling our ideas to rehabilitate Batangas. We need permanent solutions to resolve post-disaster concerns and help Batanguenos recover," Sotto said in a statement.

For Sotto, the government should be prepared to implement rehabilitation programs once the activity of Taal Volcano stops.

"Let us not forget the hard lessons we have learned from the rehabilitation of Tacloban and Marawi. We did not have ready programs to help those who were affected by these tragedies, to the chagrin of the residents who relied heavily on the government to help them get back on their feet again," Sotto said.

Housing, infrastructure, and livelihood were among the top concerns of the province due to the eruption, Sotto said.

He said the long-term plan should include temporary and permanent homes, repair of roads, buildings and other infrastructures; and small and medium enterprise opportunities, among others.

Last week, Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas ordered the building of interim resettlement sites in San Jose, Nasugbu, San Juan, and Rosario. The sites will have two-storey houses made of prefrabricated materials.

On Sunday, PHIVOLCS downgraded the alert status of Taal Volcano from Level 4 to Level 3, two weeks after its eruption that sent thousands of families fleeing their homes. —Joviland Rita/KBK, GMA News