IBAAN, Batangas – Some 435 families that were displaced by the eruption of Taal Volcano benefitted from free medical assistance extended on Wednesday by the provincial government of Bulacan and the Damayang Filipino Movement Inc., a non-government organization.
Dubbed as "Tulong Bulacan Para sa mga Nasalanta ng Bulkang Taal,” the medical mission was held at the covered court of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) housing project in Barangay Talaibon here, which serves as an evacuation center for the affected families.
Bulacan Governor Daniel Fernando personally led the 193 members of the medical team from the office of the provincial government of Bulacan and the Damayang Filipino Movement Inc.
Batangas Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) head Joy Montalbo said the evacuees came from the villages of Pulang Bato and Alas-as in San Nicolas town, an island near Taal Volcano.
“A total of 1,813 evacuees were allowed by the National Housing Authority (NHA) to use some 600 AFP housing units as their temporary shelter through the initiative of the Provincial Government headed by Governor Hermilando 'Dodo' Mandanas,” Montalbo said.
Bulacan PSWDO chief Rowena Joson said the medical team, comprised of 193 members, included 26 medical doctors, 18 nurses, and volunteers from the Damayang Filipino Movement Inc., Philippine National Police, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Provincial Engineering Office and PSWDO.
Mandanas thanked the Bulakenyos for the assistance extended to his constituents.
"Sama-sama tayong magpasalamat sa Panginoon at sa tulong ng mga taong malapit sa ating lalawigan. Salamat Governor Fernando at Vice Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado (Let us all thank God and the assistance given by the people close to our province. Thank you, Governor Fernando and Vice Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado),” he said.
Meanwhile, Fernando said: "This our way of giving back to them the blessings because when our province was devastated by Typhoon Ondoy in 2009, Batangas was among the first ones who lent a helping hand to Bulacan”.
Aside from free medical consultation for senior citizens and children, free medicines and vitamins and free haircut were offered to the displaced villagers.
Packs of relief goods were also distributed to the evacuees.
Hilda Gamo, one of the evacuees from Barangay Pulang Bato, told the Philippine News Agency that they have nothing to return to in their village.
"Ang bahay namin ay natabunan na ito ng ashfall. At hanggang sa kasalukuyan ay hindi namin alam kung saan na kami titira (Our house was buried in ashfall. Up to now, we do not know where we are going to reside)" Gamo said.
Last January 16, Fernando donated PHP1 million to the provincial government of Batangas and 5,000 packs of relief goods for the victims of the Taal Volcano eruption on January 12. (PNA)