By Hannah Torregoza
Sen. Richard Gordon said on Tuesday the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) will shift its operations in the areas affected by the Taal volcano eruption following the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology’s (Phivolcs) lowering of the alert status to Level 3.
Gordon, PRC chairman and CEO, said they will go along with Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas’ plan to set up tent cities where evacuees can stay until they can move back to their own homes.
“We can provide family tents to each family where they can sleep with privacy. But we will also set up Rubb halls which will serve as their dining areas, separate tents for socialization activities, place of worship, and other group activities,” Gordon said, disclosing what he and Mandanas agreed upon.
According to Gordon, there are already national societies committed to provide funding for the rehabilitation phase. This includes rehabilitating or building damaged houses, schools, and other buildings; providing livelihood, and distributing cash grants.
“We are already coordinating with our partner national societies to ensure that, like how we worked in Yolanda, assistance will be distributed evenly to our target population, that the operation will be organized,” he said.
Gordon said he is proposing to use P2 million of the money the Spanish Red Cross and German Red Cross will donate to build houses.
“The important thing is to remove the pressure of evacuation from the schools so the children can resume their classes,” he said.
The PRC is also considering designating permanent relocation sites for families who were displaced from the danger zones so they won’t have to go back to where they used to live.
“If they would insist on going back, they can return but only to plant or to make some livelihood, but they need to be back here. They would not be allowed to live there anymore because of the possibility the volcano will erupt again,” Gordon said.