By Raymund Antonio
The government is finalizing plans for the relocation of those displaced by the Taal volcano eruption in Ibaan, Batangas and another possible relocation site in Cavite, Taal Mayor Fulgencio “Pong” Mercado said on Thursday.
“In one or two months,” Mercado told reporters during the Pandesal Forum in Quezon City when asked about the timetable for such plan.
Along with other municipal mayors in Batangas, Mercado said they are still studying the temporary relocation of the displaced residents.
“For us mayors, we want a near area for relocation, but it is not within Taal’s seven-kilometer danger zone,” he said.
Ibaan, Batangas, a second class municipality, is far from the identified danger zone that makes it fit for the relocation of evacuees.
This relocation site is a former housing project of the National Housing Authority (NHA) for police and military personnel and their families.
The island volcano of Taal has been placed on permanent lockdown by the government, with President Duterte declaring it as “no man’s land.”
Parts of the towns of San Nicolas, Agoncillo, Laurel, Balete, and Talisay remain off-limits even as majority of evacuees have returned to their homes.
Apart from the relocation, the Taal mayor also disclosed plans for recovery and rehabilitation of the affected areas.
During the forum, Mercado received cash donations and goods from Fruitas Holdings Inc. for the Taal residents affected by the Taal volcano eruption.
FHI founder and chief executive officer Lester Yu handed the assistance to the mayor through a check worth P100,000.
“It has been always our mission to give back to the community and help our countrymen in times of need,” he said.
“Since our listing on the PSE (Philippine Stock Exchange), we are more empowered to provide meaningful service to Filipinos,” he added.