MANILA – Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. is calling for a congressional inquiry to look into the response of different government agencies to the recent Taal Volcano eruption.
Barzaga filed House Resolution No. 643, dated Jan. 13, which directs the appropriate committee to investigate reported lack of information drive regarding the hazards of Taal’s volcanic activity to the general public, and more particularly to its nearby cities and municipalities of Cavite, Laguna, and Batangas.
A copy of the bill was sent to reporters on Tuesday.
Barzaga noted that there were “no news bulletins or SMS alerts” from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology (Phivolcs) and other concerned government agencies when the Taal Volcano manifested an increase in volcanic activity on Sunday morning.
“Filipinos were taken by surprise by the recent Taal Volcano eruption wherein the losses in terms of life and property are still unaccounted for,” Barzaga said.
“Due to lack of information, in the afternoon of the same day, while Taal Volcano is already manifesting increased volcanic activity, people still traveled towards its, while those who were already near Taal volcano were shocked to see the smoke spewing from it and had to immediately flee under the dangers of ashfall,” Barzaga added.
Barzaga said there should be an investigation if Phivolcs has conducted comprehensive monitoring and if it has the technical expertise to make a timely forecast of the Taal volcano eruption.
He stressed the need to determine the necessary improvements in the responses of the different government agencies, such as the Phivolcs, Philippine National Police, Department of Social Welfare and Development, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, and local governments to reduce the risks of natural disasters in order to prevent loss of life and property.
The lawmaker also said appropriate charges need to be filed against those unscrupulous individuals who sold face masks and other supplies at an unreasonable cost during times of disaster. Filane Mikee Cervantes /PNA – northboundasia.com