Keep off Taal Volcano 14-kilometer danger zone, public told
MANILA, Philippines — Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Thursday urged the public not to “not risk their safety and their lives” and abide by the 14-kilometer radius danger zone of Taal Volcano as it continues to emit sulfur dioxide following its eruption last Sunday.
Alert Level 4 remains in effect over Taal Volcano as the amount of sulfur dioxide it has been emitting has increased anew, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said.
“Sumunod po tayo sa mandatory evacuation recommended by Phivolcs and imposed by the DILG. Pahalagahan ang kaligtasan at buhay ninyo bago ang inyong ari-arian,” Año said in a statement.
(Follow the mandatory evacuation recommended by Phivolcs and imposed by the DILG. Prioritize your safety over your properties.)
“Sumunod po tayo sa mga autoridad at manatili sa mas ligtas na lugar habang hindi pa natatapos ang pag-aalboroto ng Taal Volcano,” he added.
(Let’s follow authorities and remain in safe places while the Taal Volcano is still showing activity.)
Last Monday, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued a mandatory evacuation order in 199 barangays in 15 municipalities and cities in Batangas and Cavite, which have been identified as vulnerable to ballistic projectiles, base surges, and volcanic tsunami as a result of the eruption of the volcano.
Among the local government units (LGUs) with barangays within the 14-kilometer danger zone are: Agoncillo, Alitagtag, Balete, Cuenca, Laurel, Lemery, Lipa City, Malvar, Mataas na Kahoy, San Nicolas, Sta. Teresita, Taal, Talisay and Tanauan City, all in Batangas; and Tagaytay City in Cavite.
Based on the list provided by Phivolcs, 213 barangays in Batangas are vulnerable to base surges; 28 barangays in Cavite are exposed to possible ballistic projectile; and 124 barangays in Cavite and eight in Laguna may be at risk for a possible volcanic tsunami.
Año also said that as of Thursday, evacuation efforts have been undertaken in 179 barangays in Batangas and Cavite, while the rest of the barangays have reported that mandatory evacuation is ongoing and only 10 percent of the residents have yet to be evacuated.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) has also created a perimeter task force and set up checkpoints in all entry points to enforce the 14-kilometer danger zone lock down.
Entry to high-risk areas
DILG spokesperson Jonathan Malaya appealed to the public to coordinate with local disaster officials if they want to access high-risk areas.
“LGUs may allow, on a case to case basis, access to the high-risk areas but this has to be done in coordination with local disaster officials and is dependent on prevailing conditions,” he said.
The PNP has also deployed a special anti-looting task force in the danger zones to ensure that residents’ properties are safe and secure.
“We want all our evacuees to have peace of mind so we have police officers on patrol in the evacuated barangays to ensure that criminals will not take advantage of this tragedy,” Malaya said.
Taal Volcano Island remains completely off limits, Malaya pointed out.
He added that the PNP Maritime Group and the Philippine Coast Guard will stop anyone attempting to return to the island.
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