COVENANT OF COMMITMENT: DHSUD Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario inks a commitment pact with Batangas LGUs meant to hasten the delivery of housing assistance to victims of last year’s Taal Volcano eruption.
Joining him at Friday’s key event were DHSUD Undersecretary Meynard Sabili, DHSUD Regional Office 4A Director Jann Roby Otero, Asst. Dir. Felix Brazil and local chief executives of cities and municipalities affected by the January 2020 disaster.

STA. TERESITA, Batangas – The Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) has finalized a commitment pact to grant P30 million to Batangas local government units and assist families affected by the January 2020 Taal Volcano eruption.

DHSUD Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario spearheaded Friday’s event held in line with the Taal Rehabilitation and Recovery Program to reaffirm the government’s commitment to assist Batanguenos recover from last year’s eruption.

The P30-million grant will be distributed among 15 cities and municipalities severely affected by the eruption. The assistance will be used to identify and acquire suitable and sustainable resettlement sites for the affected families.

The endowment is intended to establish safer and more resilient resettlement communities to areas impacted by last year’s calamity.

“The budget is available anytime, ready for tapping once you have satisfied the processes,” Secretary Del Rosario told mayors and representatives of the LGUs.

He stressed the need for the establishment of safer and sustainable relocation sites in Batangas to keep people from harms way.

“The ball is now in your hands to identify and acquire safe relocation sites,” he added.

Also present at the event held in Sta. Teresita were DHSUD Undersecretary Meynard Sabili, Regional Office 4A Director Jann Robby Otero and Assistant Director Felix Brazil. Local chief executives of areas affected by the Taal Volcano eruption likewise witnessed the activity.

Among the highlights were symbolic rites such as a march of commitment, the offering of fruit baskets by the local leaders and the provision of the key of BALAI assistance – signifying the government’s commitment in assisting affected families.

The Batangas LGU recipients, to receive P2 million each, are Lipa City, Tanauan, Agoncillo, Alitagtag, Balete, Cuenca, Laurel, Lemery, Mataas na Kahoy, Malvar, San Jose, San Nicolas, Sta. Teresita, Talisay and Taal.

As of December 2020, there are about 2,672 housing units due for relocation being offered by the National Housing Authority (NHA). To date, DHSUD, together with the NHA and the government of Batangas, has resettled more than 600 profiled families in four locations in Talisay and Balete. Seven other sites across Region 4A are likewise being identified to serve as permanent resettlement areas for affected families.

Provincial housing head Ronel del Rio, who graced the event on behalf of Batangas Gov. Hermilando Mandanas, and Sta. Teresita Mayor Norberto Segunial Jr., in their respective messages,  expressed gratitude to the government’s initiative in extending and hastening assistance to affected families.

The event was part of the Taal Shelter Task Force’s mandate and efforts in providing safer, adaptive and disaster-resilient housing units to individuals whose lives were adversely impacted by the January 2020 eruption.

“We must work with haste and in the right direction.  Careful evaluation on the suitability of the proposed resettlement sites for safe and inclusive communities intended for the displaced families is likewise important,” Secretary Del Rosario said.  

“Through our BALAI program or ‘Building Adequate, Livable, Affordable and Inclusive Filipino Communities,’ we are not just building houses, but rather, we are building safe and resilient communities,” he added. (30)— CVC