Classes in Batangas still suspended despite lower Taal alert status
MANILA, Philippines — Despite Taal Volcano’s status downgraded to Alert Level 3, classes in elementary and high school remain suspended in Batangas “until further notice.”
“Ang mga paaralan sa elementary at secondary ay mananatiling sarado kahit tayo ay level 3. Mananatiling sarado until further notice,” Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas said Sunday in a press briefing.
(Schools in elementary and secondary levels remain close even though Taal is at Alert Level 3. It will remain closed until further notice.)
Colleges and universities located outside areas of lockdown, meanwhile, may continue with their classes.
“Yung college and universities na nasa labas ng lockdown area, ang ating kautusan dyan, patuloy pa rin sila. Walang pagbabago. Tuloy ang college, university, TESDA [Technical Education and Skills Development Authority], lahat na under ng ChEd [Commission on Higher Education],” Mandanas said.
(To the colleges and universities outside the lockdown area, we are ordering them to continue with classes. No changes for the colleges, university, TESDA — those under ChEd.)
Hermilando explained elementary and secondary schools still serve as temporary shelters to evacuees who were displaced by Taal’s eruption over two weeks ago.
“Ang dahilan, pati ‘yung mga guro ay nagevacuate, hindi lamang ‘yung mga bata. Yung mga paaralan, 50,000 mga bakwit ang nakatira doon hanggang kagabi,” he said.
(Not only did the students evacuate, but the teachers did too. About 50,000 evacuees are taking temporary shelter in the schools as of last night.)
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) earlier lowered Taal’s status to Alert Level 3 which implies “decreased tendency towards hazardous eruption.”
But Phivolcs noted it does not mean “unrest has ceased or that the threat of hazardous eruption has disappeared.”
Residents of Batangas towns except Agoncillo and Laurel who were displaced by Taal’s eruption were already given the choice to return to their homes.
Mandanas said the local government is looking to transfer the evacuees from schools to other evacuation centers.
“Amin nang binalangkas at ipagaganap at patuloy na ipapaganap ang paglipat ng mga kababayan nating mga nasa silid paaralan, ililipat sila sa mga bagong evacuation centers,” he said.
(We are planning and undertaking the transfer of those who are in taking shelter in classrooms to new evacuation centers.)
The Education department earlier urged local government units to look for spaces where temporary shelters for evacuees could be set up so to make way for the resumption of classes.
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