Governor Vilma Santos on proposed Batangas signage on Taal Volcano: "It’s not final yet."

Vice Governor Mark Leviste (inset) supports Governor Vilma Santos (main photo) with her idea of putting up a "Batangas" signage on Taal Volcano. In his official statement, Leviste asks the people to "remain matured, responsible, & objective with their comments."


Isang kontrobersiya ang kinakaharap ngayon ni Governor Vilma Santos matapos batikusin ng ilan ang suhestiyon niya na lagyan ng signage na "Batangas" ang Taal Volcano.

Ayon sa artikulo ni Jerome Balinton sa Inquirer kahapon, Oktubre 20, naaprubuhan na raw ng provincial council ng Batangas noong Oktubre 5 ang resolusyon na sumusuporta sa ideyang ito ng gobernadora.

Ang hitsura raw nito’y katulad ng signage ng Hollywood sa Los Angeles, California, na may taas na 14 meters at lapad na 110 meters na ilalagay sa isang parte ng Taal Volcano.

"IT’S NOT FINAL YET." Matapos lumabas ang balitang ito, iba’t ibang reaksiyon ang inani ng suhestiyong ito ni Ate Vi.

Sa Come Visit My Philippines fan page sa Facebook, may ilang nagparating ng kanilang pagtutol at pagkadismaya sa naturang ideya:

"This is a farce! Unbelievable...it will destroy the beauty of Taal. I vote NO!"

"Wala ng magawa at wala n ring pagtapunan ng pera ang govt...and yet daming palaboy s daan...Where is the promise change?"

Dahil dito, hindi na napigilan ni Governor Vi na depensahan ang kanyang sarili sa mga bumabatikos sa kanya.

Sa phone interview ni Bayani San Diego, Jr. sa kanya kahapon, Oktubre 20, na lumabas din sa Inquirer, nilinaw ni Governor Vi na hindi pa pinal ang desisyon tungkol dito.

Dagdag pa niya, kasalukuyan pa silang kumukonsulta sa iba’t ibang mga ahensiya ng gobyerno, na nakasama rin nila sa meeting noong nakaraang linggo.

"It’s not as if it’s a done deal," diin ng actress-politician.

"It’s not as if there’s already an allocated budget for the construction.

"It was just a plan that was tackled in a meeting.

"We have to study it carefully and consult various government agencies, including the DENR [Department of Environment and Natural Resources] and Phivolcs [Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology] first."

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Giit pa niya, isang paraan lang din ito upang ipaalam sa lahat na ang Taal Volcano ay parte ng Batangas, at hindi ng Tagaytay—na isang bayan sa Cavite.

Madalas ay nakakabit sa Tagaytay, Cavite ang pangalan ng Taal Volcano dahil sa mas tanaw ito rito kumpara sa Batangas.

Ani Governor Vi, "The best views of the lake and volcano can be seen from Tagaytay.

"We wanted a landmark that will identify Taal as part of Batangas."

Pero sagot naman ni Tagaytay City Mayor Abraham Tolentino, hindi na kailangan gawin ito.

Sabi niya, "Why put up a Batangas sign? It won’t help.

"People, while sipping a cup of coffee, will just say that the view is more beautiful from Tagaytay without that sign.

"It’s a sign of what? Bicolanos will not put an ’Albay’ [sign] on Mayon Volcano. [Their officials] would not destroy the view of Mayon.

"They are not insecure."

TOURISM DEVELOPMENT PLAN. Samantala, bilang pagsuporta sa kanilang gobernadora, si Batangas Vice Governor Marc Leviste ang sumasagot sa mga komento ng ilan.

Katunayan, karamihan ng updates sa Twitter account ni Leviste ay puro sagot sa mga katanungan at panukala ng ilang mamamayan ng Batangas.

Kaugnay nito, naglabas siya ng kanyang official statement bilang sagot sa mga tumuligsa sa nasabing ideya.

Una na niyang nilinaw ang tungkol sa lumabas na larawan sa Inquirer kahapon, Oktubre 20, at sinabing hindi ganoon ang kanilang plano para sa Taal Volcano.

Hindi rin daw alam ni Governor Santos-Recto ang tungkol sa naturang artikulo, kung kaya’t hindi ito dapat batikusin.

Dagdag pa ni Vice Governor Leviste, "We are saddened that the idea was magnified and some people over-reacted if not maliciously responded to the issue considering the idea is just in the pipeline.

"We invited different government agencies during our first hearing, brought the idea to various social networking sites and entertained the press simply because we want to show our sincerity, seriousness, transparency, and accessibleness on the idea and to the people.

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"I hope they realize that there is a process and manner for both implementation and grievances."

Pakiusap din niya sa mga tao, lalo na sa mga mamamayan ng Batangas, "I hope our kababayans will remain matured, responsible, & objective with their comments.

"We appreciate their participation & will always welcome their insights."

NO OBJECTION. Kaugnay nito, nagbigay na ng pahayag ang Phivolcs sa issue sa pamamagitan ng direktor ng ahensiya na si Renato Solidum.

Ayon kay Solidum, walang masama sa planong ito ni Governor Vi. Hindi naman daw nito lalabagin ang "ban on permanent structures" sa naturang lugar.

"The sign will not have any effect if you talk about the risks.

"What we’re trying to avoid is (having) permanent settlements, not signs.

"If they think the sign can boost ecotourism in Batangas, that’s their plan."

Ang inaalala lang daw nila’y kapag pumutok muli ang bulkan, matapos nitong magpakita ito ng senyales ng pag-aalburoto.

Kaya naman pagpasok ng Hulyo ay itinaas na nila sa alert level number 1 ang bulkan, na nagbabawal sa mga tao na lumapit sa bukana nito.


LEVISTE’S STATEMENT. Sa kasalukuyan ay patuloy pa rin ang diskusyon tungkol sa isyu, at sinabi ni Leviste na bukas sila sa ano mang komento mula sa mga concerned citizens.

Narito ang kabuuang statement na inilabas ni Vice Governor Mark Leviste sa media kaninang umaga:

"Good morning! A lot has been said about the idea of putting-up a Batangas sign in Taal Volcano Island. Yesterday, we witnessed the good, the bad & the ugly comments, and to the best of our ability, we patiently & objectively replied/answered queries. As such, we would like to reiterate the following facts:

"1. The idea is ONLY PART of the holistic Tourism Development plan for Taal Lake and Volcano which includes the idea of having floating restaurants, to promote the area for outdoor adventure, etc.

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"2. The IDEA is still being STUDIED that’s why we are conducting research and consultation with various stakeholders.

"3. NOTHING is final yet, not even the photo on Inquirer is not the official perspective.

"4. Gov. Vilma was UNAWARE of the interview and article that came-out on the Inquirer, therefore, its UNFAIR to judge and criticize the Governor w/regards to the issue. Gov. Vi always means well and she’ll do what is best for the province. It was I (GV ML) with is a very popular & important tourist destination...

"5. Neither do we intend to compete nor challenge Tagaytay City. Rather, we can compliment each other.

"6. We are saddened that the idea was magnified and some people over-reacted if not maliciously responded to the issue considering the idea is just in the pipeline (among others).

"7. We invited different government agencies during our first hearing, brought the idea to various social networking sites and entertained the press simply because we want to show our sincerity, seriousness, transparency and accessibleness on the idea and to the people- I hope they realize that there is a process and manner for both implementation and grievances.

"8. I actually expected to see mixed-opinions on the idea. But I hope our kababayans will remain matured, responsible, and objective with their comments. We appreciate their participation & will always welcome their insights.

"The overwhelming response only proves to show that Batangas is indeed beautiful and it is a very popular & important tourist destination...its all here, it’s so near!"


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