By Ben Rosario
The House of Representatives will hold on Wednesday, January 22, its regular session right at the Batangas Convention Center, one of the largest evacuation centers for evacuees affected by the Taal Volcano eruption.
Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said the decision to convene the chamber in session in Batangas was reached by leaders of the chamber on Monday.
Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez formally moved for the Batangas caucus at the resumption of regular session with Cayetano as presiding officer.
“In view of the unanimity in spirit and the consensus arrived at by the leaders of the House in your office and your instance, we move to hold the session this Wednesday at the Batangas City Convention Center at 1 p.m.,” declared Romualdez.
The senior administration lawmaker said details of the trip, including the means of transportation, will be known on Tuesday.
Cayetano declared unanimous approval of the motion as none among the House members present stood to object.
The approval of the motion came moments after Renato Solidum, director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, warned that there is a strong possibility that Taal Volcano will erupt anew anytime.
Solidum is strongly convinced that fresh magma would be flowing out of the restive volcano soon and trigger another eruption.
Fearing graver danger lurking around the Taal area, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año ordered the stricter implementation of the lockdown on 14 towns covered by the 14-kilometer danger zone.
In a speech marking the opening of Monday’s regular session, Cayetano said Leyte Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez will deliver a privilege speech during the scheduled session in Batangas City.
Cayetano said the House will convene itself into a Committee of the Whole “and listen to different representatives from all over Laguna, Cavite, Batangas.”
“(We will) listen to the first responders, listen to those who are directly affected,” he said.
The House leader lauded his colleagues for coming in full force at Monday’s session to offer whatever help they can give to Taal victims by way of legislation.
“We begin with a lot of faith and hope, but, of course, with also a lot of sadness and concern for our kababayan in the Calabarzon area. People are holding us to our commitment – that the 18th Congress will be reliable, will be relevant, and will be responsive to the needs of our people. It is also very challenging because we only have eight weeks,” Cayetano stated.