Agoncillo, Laurel towns in Batangas lift lockdown except for six villages
SAN PEDRO CITY — The towns of Agoncillo and Laurel in Batangas province lifted Monday their lockdown orders, except in six villages within the seven kilometer-radius danger zone that are considered greatly at risk in case of another Taal eruption.
The two municipalities, visibly the hardest hit by the ashfall, were the last of the 14 towns and cities in Batangas to reopen after the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Sunday downgraded Taal’s Alert Level from 4 to 3 as the volcano showed decreased possibility for a hazardous explosion.
Agoncillo Mayor Daniel Reyes, in a phone interview Monday, said they allowed the residents, who were forcibly evacuated over the past two weeks, to return to their homes.
“But I told them (residents, to send) the head of the families first so they could clean up their homes before the elders and children come home. The ash poses risks of respiratory illnesses,” Reyes also said.
Power and water supply had been restored in some parts of Agoncillo.
“Other residents have their own deep wells where they could get water for cleaning up,” Reyes added.
However, Reyes said the villages of Bilibinwang, Subic Ilaya, and Banyaga would remain under a lockdown.
“We’re still deciding (on whether to grant window hours to enter these villages). Maybe by tomorrow (Tuesday),” Reyes said.
In Laurel, the local government also allowed residents to return to their homes except for those living in the villages of Bugaan East, Buso-Buso, and Gulod, which were also within the seven kilometer-radius hazard zone.
The volcano island or the Pulo remains off limits.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.