Permanent relocation for Bulusan villagers pushed

November 28, 2010

Marlon Purificacion     
Journal Online
November 28, 2010

SENATOR Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan supported calls of the provincial government to provide a permanent relocation site for villagers affected by the activities of Mt. Bulusan in Sorsogon.

The senator visited several towns around the restive Bulusan volcano to survey firsthand the effects of Mt. Bulusan’s recent ash explosions.

Pangilinan, who is the senate chair of the committee on agriculture and food, went to Bgy. Cogon in Irosin where he saw massive boulders washed down from the slopes of the volcano clogging the Cadacan River.

In some areas, lahar deposits about 10-feet high are blocking the river channel, which he said would eventually need dredging.

Although the assessed damage to crops remains minimal, provincial disaster officials fear incessant rains and the ensuing lahar flows still poses a threat to these residents.

Based on the assessment of Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) provincial volcanologist Ed Laguerta, over 400,000 cubic meters of lahar is now deposited around the slopes of Bulusan.

Pangilinan reiterated calls to the villagers to heed the advice of the LGUs to leave their properties if their lives are threatened as nothing could be more important than their safety.

“Naiintindihan natin ’yung mga magsasaka na nagpapabalik-balik du’n sa lugar na malapit sa bulkan. Siyempre kailangan nilang ituloy ang kabuhayan nila at pangalagaan kung ano man ’yung nai-pundar na nila roon. Pero walang buhay ng isang magsasaka ang katumbas ng kanyang pananim,” Pangilinan said.

He also allocated part of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (pork barrel) to the provincial government for immediate relief but left it to their judgment when is the best time to use it.

“Mother nature is just doing its role. It is true we cannot control it. But we can provide measures to ensure that there is minimal damage to our food supply and lessening the impact on our farmers’ livelihood. It is entirely unacceptable that our farmers are reduced to being scavengers whenever hit by a calamity.

“They have been toiling for decades to provide us food. Whenever they are affected, the whole country is affected. We can put a stop to this pathetic cycle. The national and local government must enjoin communities to participate in formulating solutions to lessen the impact of natural disasters to our food supply,” Pangilinan added.

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