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6,000 Taal villagers told to move out


Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 21:38:00 06/09/2010

Filed Under: Volcanic activity, Safety of Citizens

BATANGAS CITY, Philippines?At least 6,000 residents in four towns were asked by the Batangas Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC) to voluntarily leave their homes as Taal Volcano continues to show signs of acting up.

But as of 2 p.m. Wednesday, no evacuation was being conducted for residents living near Taal Volcano.

Batangas Vice Gov. Marc Leviste, acting governor and PDCC chair, said evacuations would start only upon approval of village chiefs and local government executives.

Earlier on Wednesday, provincial administrator Vic Reyes advised 6,000 residents in the towns of Talisay, San Nicolas, Agoncillo and Laurel, which surround the volcano island, to evacuate voluntarily.

Reyes said the towns of Balete, Mataas na Kahoy, Cuenca, Sta. Teresita, Alitagtag, Tanauan, Lipa and Lemery should also be alerted.

Information drive

Jing Segusmundo, provincial information officer, sent two teams to the four towns for an information drive.

Segusmundo said in Talisay town, many tourists were backing out from their trips to Taal Volcano upon learning that it was placed under alert level 2.

She also said in San Nicolas, residents reported seeing strange animal behavior that they related to the volcanic activity.

Segusmundo said her teams were urging 6,000 settlers, fish-cage caretakers and tourists to voluntarily evacuate.

Should there be voluntary or forced evacuation, schools would be available as temporary shelters, said Danilo Cabello, of the Department of Education.

Evacuation costs

?The schools are always open,? said Cabello.

He said evacuees should first occupy covered courts for efficient distribution of relief goods.

Joy Montalbo, of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, said the province would need at least P4.5 million per week for 1,000 families who would evacuate?P2.7 million per week for food and P1.7 million per week for nonfood items.

The costs made Leviste and PDCC members to study whether they would place Batangas under a state of calamity or not.

Vicente Tomazar, Calabarzon PDCC chief, said from 32 high frequency volcanic earthquakes, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) recorded only 16 in the last 24 hours, but a stronger quake was felt in Tagaytay City.

Taal?s alert level was raised to 2 on Tuesday because of the increase in eruption signs monitored by the Phivolcs starting in April.

The Phivolcs said reports showed that a fresh batch of magma had been rising to the volcano?s surface, which could eventually lead to an eruption.

It asked people to stay out of the permanent danger zone around the island-volcano. Marrah Erika Lesaba, Inquirer Southern Luzon



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