(JANUARY 16, 2020) – President Rodrigo Duterte is satisfied with the state volcanology and seismology’s response in the Taal volcano crisis, his spokesman said on Thursday amid calls from lawmakers to look into the agency’s lapses.
Salvador Panelo, who is also chief presidential legal counsel, said the president has no complains against the agency, which has explained the current situation in the country’s second most volcano, which showed signs of a hazardous explosive eruption within days.
However, the President will not stop lawmakers from conducting a congressional probe into the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology’s performance.
Some lawmakers have criticized the agency for not providing timely public information about the eruption.
“As if malalaman mo kung kailan puputok ang bulkan, but anyway, that is the prerogative and privilege of the legislature to call for a hearing in aid of legislation,” he said.
Dasmariñas City Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. of Cavite, one of the most affected provinces by Taal Volcano, has filed a resolution over Phivolcs’ supposed failure on informing the public immediately about the volcano’s eruption.
While recognizing the challenges faced by the agency, he emphasized there had been lapses in information dissemination about the alert level raised in the volcano since March 2018.
But for Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Salceda, they should prioritize extending help to hundreds of thousands of displaced victims in southern Luzon.
“Kapag ganitong mga panahon dapat nagkakaisa ang lahat,” he told reporters in a forum in Quezon City. “Help first, comment later.”
“With respect to Barzaga, although I appreciate the emperical things there, I think the basic duty of congress is not to investigate, dapat i-prioritize ‘yung pag provide ng material and policy assistance,” he added. (Karen Macalalad/MM)
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