By Aaron Recuenco
The story of how Pampanga stood back to its feet after the massive devastation wrought by Pinatubo eruption in 1991 is now the source of inspiration among Batanguenos as thick ashes continue to blanket several towns of Batangas amid the continuous rumblings of the Taal Volcano.
No less than the Governor of Pampanga, Dennis Pineda, went here on Tuesday to personally deliver the assistance to Batangas Provincial Government that include basic needs for the evacuees and equipment for road-clearing and evacuation.
“My presence here in Batangas is to show to the Batanguenos that they should not lose hope, they can do it and Batangas will rise again,” Pineda told the Manila Bulletin in an interview here.
“If Pampanga was able stand on its feet despite the devastation of Pinatubo eruption, I am confident that Batangas can do it too,” he added.
Among the vehicles and equipment brought by Pineda here in Batangas were 14 dump trucks, six military trucks, four wing van, three ambulances, three coasters, three water trucks, 11 service vehicles and four police vehicles.
Those vehicles, according to Pineda, are for evacuation of residents living in the areas near Taal Volcano.
The official said that they also brought three heavy equipment that will be used in clearing the roads that were covered by thick ashes coming from the volcano.
Asked what prompted him to assist Batangas, Pineda explained that it is more of responding to the call of Batangas for assistance and a way of payback since a lot of local government units also extended help to Pampanga during the Pinatubo eruption.
Aside from relief and road-clearing assistance, Pampanga will also share their own experience on how they were able to clear and properly dispose the thick ash that covered residential and commercial areas and farmlands.
Tons of ash, it was recalled, was spewed by Pinatubo that almost turned the farmlands of Pampanga into a desert.
“Our farmlands used to be covered by thick ash. Just imagine, we can now plant again,” said Pineda.
“And they even became a source of our income,” he added.
Memes showing the image and quotes from Pineda have been circulating on the social media pages of Batanguenos.
In the Facebook page Go Batangas, the post showing a quote from Gov. Dennis ‘Delta’ Pineda that the survivors of Pinatubo will help Taal volcano victims has garnered more than 11,000 likes. Batangueno netizens expressed gratitude to Pineda.
The Provincial Government of Pampanga has set up a command post in Batangas City to facilitate all the assistance that will come from Kapampangans.