Taal victims worry over homes; DLSL commits to shelter evacuees until needed

After more than a week since the Taal Volcano eruption, evacuees in De La Salle Lipa (DLSL) have found comfort in the institution as their temporary shelter but expressed their worries over the current state of their homes, Jan 21.

Chona Marciellana, 45, shares her experiences during the eruption of Taal Volcano. (F. Bacani)

“Maganda rin naman ang napuntahan namin at ayos din naman. Kami ay pinapakain dine [DLSL], kung anong hingin namin [ay] binibigay sa amin,” said Chona Marciellana, 45, an evacuee in DLSL. 

However, Marciellana said that after visiting her house in Taal, Batangas yesterday, she saw that some parts of it were damaged due to heavy ashfall, making her more concerned on how they will rebuild their home once the situation with the volcano subsides. 

Teary eyed. Cecilia Salazar shares the situation of her house in Taal, Batangas. (F. Bacani)

Another evacuee residing in DLSL, Cecilia Salazar, 60, also from Taal, Batangas shared her own agony over volcanic fissures and consecutive earthquakes that damaged almost half of their home.

“Ang aking problema ay ang aking bahay, ‘yung pag alis dito. Sabi ko nga sa aking mga bata, magaling kako kayo may uuwiang bahay,” Salazar said. 

Even if their home did not incur any damage, Glenda Claveria insists in staying in the evacuation center due to the unstable situation of the Taal volcano. (F. Bacani)

On the other hand, Glenda Claveria, 54, an evacuee from Mataas na Kahoy, Batangas, came in DLSL evacuation center yesterday as they were asked by their local government to evacuate for their own safety. 

“Wala namang damage ‘yung bahay namin. Ang kinakatakot ko lang kasi kaya hindi kami umuuwi pa kasi nga pabago-bago ‘yung mga naririnig namin na ‘malapit na pumutok’ [ang Taal Volcano]. Syempre ‘yung kaligtasan ng mga bata [ang iniisip ko],” Claveria said. 

Claveria also expressed how satisfied she has been in DLSL as fun activities like zumba, film viewing, magic show and more were prepared for them by the Lasallian admin and volunteers. 

Aside from the activities, DLSL also installed sinks and donated appliances like washing machine and a two-burner stove for the convenience of the evacuees. 

De La Salle Lipa provides washing machine for the evacuees. (F. Bacani)

On Jan. 18, there were only 63 families that arrived in the DLSL campus out of 80 expected families.

Dfezie Tipan, chief strategic services officer, said that 22 of the 63 families left the evacuation center since the first day of its opening as most of them were already contacted by their relatives offering their own homes for the evacuees. 

“Relatives, that’s [the] common reason for them going out. That they have relatives that already have contacted them that they have space. That’s better kasi it is almost similar to home,” Tipan said. 

Yesterday, DLSL welcomed another 21 families from Mataas na Kahoy to fill the empty tents. 

As of press time, DLSL accommodates 62 families, 31 of which are from Taal, Batangas, and the other 10 families are from Laurel, Batangas. 

According to DLSL President and Chancellor, Dante Amisola, they have already anticipated the possibility of the evacuees staying in the school premises even for more than three months. 

Tipan also added that they have been constantly communicating with the heads of the families to address concerns and worries of the evacuees. 

“We have this meeting with the heads of the family at the tent kasi we would like to know what their experiences are and then we [will take note] to do better,” said Tipan. 

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