More than three hundred participating Punong Barangays, respective mayors from four municipalities of Batangas including Agoncillo, Laurel, Lemery and Talisay, and eight LGUs in Cavite composed of Alfonso, Amadeo, General Emilio Aguinaldo, Indang, Magallanes, Mendez, Silang and Tagaytay City as well as other local officials of Cavite attended the Coordination Meeting for the Taal Volcano Eruption Evacuation Plan on March 2, 2021 at the Tagaytay International Convention Center covered court in Tagaytay City.
Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla personally led the meeting together with Vice Governor Jolo Revilla and underscored the importance of the preparations. He recalled that during the Taal volcanic eruption in January 2020, more than 52,000 evacuees from Batangas went to Cavite and how both provinces met many challenges along the way. This prompted the provincial government to craft disaster preparedness measure as the activity of Taal volcano cannot be predicted. The evacuation plan is being rolled out to all the involved LGUs specifically to Punong Barangays who are on the ground for them to understand the procedures and protocols that will be observed especially during the time of COVID-19 pandemic should Taal volcano erupt.
He also added that the ultimate aim of the activity is to institutionalize the evacuation plan so that preparations are in place when the disaster occurs regardless of the incumbent administration. This will be done thru regular simulation of the evacuation procedures and continuous practice of preparation measures.
Ms. Eloisa Rozul of the Cavite Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office led the rollout of the evacuation plan to the attendees. Highlight of the presentation is the twinning of Batangas and Cavite LGUS to facilitate evacuation. Evacuees from Laurel, Batangas will be sheltered in the town of Alfonso. Those coming from Talisay, Batangas will be received by the municipalities of Silang ang Indang. The municipality of Mendez as well as Tagaytay City will receive evacuees coming from Agoncillo, Batangas. For evacuees coming from Lemery, four LGUs of Cavite namely Magallanes, General Emilio Aguinaldo, Tagaytay City and Amadeo will provide shelter. Designated pickup points in the different subject municipalities of Batangas have been initially identified as well as the evacuation sites in partner Cavite LGUs.
Cavite province will facilitate transportation of evacuees from the strategic pickup points in Batangas. Swabbing of evacuees will also be done in identified swabbing areas in Cavite as a safety protocol in light of the COVID-19 pandemic before proceeding to the assigned evacuation areas.
Mayors of the eight Cavite LGUs represented by Cavite Mayors’ League President Frederrick Vida of Mendez unanimously expressed their commitment to accept and provide for the needs of those who will be displaced from the province of Batangas if and when Taal volcano erupts.
Meanwhile, local chief executives from Batangas expressed their gratitude for the support and shelter provided to their constituents during the 2020 Taal volcano eruption. Mayors’ League President of Batangas, Mayor Valentino Patron of San Jose said that the show of support of the province of Cavite to their constituents lifts their morale and that the act will never be forgotten. In a gesture of appreciation, they presented to the Governor the infamous ‘balisong’ of Batangas as a token of gratitude.
The forging of partnership between the two provinces was witnessed by Presidential Chief Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo who was incidentally visiting the province.