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Marino party-list wants livelihood assistance for Taal calamity victims

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Marino party-list Rep. Sandro Gonzalez on Tuesday called on his fellow lawmakers to fast-track the creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience and ensure the inclusion of livelihood assistance for calamity victims among its responsibilities.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised Alert Level 4 for Taal Volcano on Sunday evening, signifying that an eruption is imminent in hours or days.

“This is the second major disruptive event of 2020, where we have to consider not just the physical safety of our people, but also how we can assist them to stand back on their own feet,” said Gonzalez.

He was apparently referring to the Iran crisis earlier this year which caused the government to consider the mass evacuation of Filipinos in the Middle East.

“As before, the Tulong Marino Program is ready to give assistance, as much as we can, to those affected by the volcanic eruption,” he said.

“But we understand that this assistance is short term in nature and we need a more systematic way of dealing with disasters, both natural and man-made,” said Gonzalez.

“I think it’s time we offer a more concrete solution to people unwilling to leave due to their livelihood and give them alternatives. Not only will it increase cooperation with disaster resilience initiatives, it will also help us achieve the zero casualty goal we always aim for,” he said.