The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has called on the public “not to risk their safety and their lives” and to abide by the 14-kilometer radius danger zone of Taal Volcano because of the continuous exposure to the hazards in the wake of the volcanic eruption.
“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. Sumunod po tayo sa mga autoridad at manatili sa mas ligtas na lugar habang hindi pa natatapos ang pag-aalboroto ng Taal Volcano,” said DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año.
Last Monday, the DILG issued an order for mandatory evacuation in 199 barangays in 15 municipalities and cities in Batangas and Cavite which have been identified as susceptible to ballistic projectiles, base surges, and volcanic tsunami as a result of the eruption of the said volcano.
“We do not want to leave anything to chance. Importante na mailikas agad ang mga residente para masiguro ang kanilang kaligtasan habang hindi pa humuhupa ang galit ng Bulkang Taal,” said Año.
Among the LGUs with Barangays within the 14-kilometer danger zone are: Agoncillo, Alitagtag, Balete, Cuenca, Laurel, Lemery, Lipa City, Malvar, Mataasnakahoy, 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 susceptible to base surges; 28 barangays in Cavite are exposed to possible ballistic projectile; and 124 barangays in Batangas and 8 in Cavite may experience possible volcanic tsunami.
As of today, the DILG Secretary said that evacuation efforts led by the LGUs and supported by the PNP have been undertaken in 179 barangays in both Batangas and Cavite, while the rest of the barangays have reported that mandatory evacuation is ongoing and only 10 percent of the residents remain to be evacuated.
Checkpoints set up
To ensure that the public adheres to the 14-kilometer danger zone, DILG Spokesperson Jonathan E. Malaya said that the Philippine National Police (PNP) has created a perimeter task force and set up checkpoints in all entry points to enforce the lockdown imposed by the various LGUs in Batangas.
He said that the DILG supports the lockdown imposed by the various LGUs and asks the public to coordinate with local disaster officials if they want access to the 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.
Malaya said the PNP has also deployed a special anti-looting task force to patrol the danger zones to ensure that their 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,” he said.
Malaya, however, reiterated that the volcano island is completely off limits and the PNP Maritime Group and the Philippine Coast Guard will stop anyone attempting to return to the island.