(File photo)

MANILA – The government is eyeing more resettlement housing projects for the victims of the Taal volcano eruption in Batangas province, the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) said Wednesday.

This, after DHSUD Secretary Eduardo del Rosario has signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with San Nicolas Mayor Lester de Sagun over the weekend for the land acquisition deal that will pave the way for the construction of a resettlement site in the municipality of San Nicolas, Batangas.

Del Rosario has been visiting the province for a series of assessments and inspections.

In his visits, Del Rosario committed to assisting the municipalities affected by the Taal eruption, which include recovery programs for the residents and planning of mitigation measures for future volcano eruptions.

"I admire Mayor Lester’s boldness in standing up for his people despite initial objections due to some protocols that we have to follow. After thorough deliberation with the administrator of the Office of Civil Defense, we finally reached an agreement. Hence, this MOA came into fruition,” Del Rosario said in a statement.

Based on the DHSUD's reevaluation, the municipality of San Nicolas does not pose any other locational hazards, despite being located within the 14-kilometer radius of the Taal volcano, making it safe to construct a relocation site within the area.

Under the agreement, DHSUD Regional Office 4-A (Calabarzon) will take the lead in its implementation in coordination with the Housing and Real Estate Development Regulation Bureau, through incentivized compliance to push a balanced housing program.

The government is eyeing to build the housing project in Barangay Maabud North, San Nicolas for residents nearby danger zones.

“I can assure San Nicolas that this is just the beginning of DHSUD’s presence in your area. We will walk with you through the process until we complete this project and provide quality shelters, especially to those in need,” Del Rosario said.

The DHSUD earlier sealed a commitment agreement granting PHP30 million to various local government units in Batangas province that can be used to help their constituents affected by the Taal Volcano eruption in January 2020.

This initiative is 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 volcano eruption. (PNA)