Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año has directed the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to "mobilize all resources in aid of the road-clearing and cleaning operations as well as other needed efforts" in the aftermath of the Taal Volcano eruption.
"In these trying times, we must unite as a nation and respond with urgency. I therefore direct the BFP to deploy all its firetrucks and assets and perform all needed actions to assist in the road clearing and cleaning of ashfall and volcanic debris in all affected provinces," Año said.
"Malaking bagay para sa mga bayang nasalanta ng pagsabog ng Bulkang Taal na kaagad malinis ang mga kalsada at mga sasakyang natambakan ng abo ng bulkan," he added.
Alert Status 4 which entails imminent hazardous eruption was raised after Taal Volcano's intensified volcanic eruption sent spews of ash columns several kilometers into the atmosphere. Urgent evacuation of citizens proved to be a difficult task as wet ash fall covered major roads and residential areas.
Año explained that as the Taal Volcano continues to spew ash and other volcanic debris, it is imperative that consistent aid in clearing the road and evacuating the people are implemented.
"The BFP has the firetrucks and water provisions to help in clearing the roads of ash fall from the volcano. Itong putik na ito ay nagiging malaking hadlang sa paglikas ng ating mga kababayan at sa paghahatid ng relief goods sa kanila," he said.
According to Año, 531 fire personnel, 147 firetrucks, 39 Emergency Medical Service personnel, and 9 ambulances from BFP-CALABARZON have been deployed to the affected areas and are at the ready to assist in road flushing activities.
He also commended firefighters and police officers of the Philippine National Police (PNP) who went out of their way and assisted evacuees at great risk to their lives.
"Salamat sa inyong kusang-loob na pagtulong sa ating mga kababayan. But we cannot stop now. Malaki ang naging pinsala ng pagputok ng bulkan at maaari pang lumaki ito sa mga darating na araw. Hold your ground, kailangan kayo ng ating mga kababayan," he said.
The DILG Chief said that the Department is currently monitoring the presence of all mayors and governors in affected areas and are receiving reports from all DILG field offices.
"We will continue to monitor all LGUs and ensure that their needs are brought to the attention of the government gayundin ang pagtitiyak na ang mga mayor ay kumikilos para sa kanilang mga constituents," he said.
According to Año, the DILG issued a memorandum to DILG-CALABARZON on the conduct of Mandatory Evacuation for Barangays Susceptible to Taal Volcano Ballistic Projectile, Base Surge, and Volcanic Tsunami. A memorandum on the coordination mechanism for LGUs who signified to provide humanitarian assistance to Taal Volcano Eruption affected areas was also issued.
"We have also activated the NCR, CALABARZON, and Central Luzon's Management of the Dead and Missing Persons Clusters, and reiterated to preposition and prepare for the eventuality of immediate deployment," Año said.
Año also said that an order was also issued through the DILG-CODIX regarding the Humanitarian Assistance for Taal Volcano Eruption - Affected Areas and Mandatory Evacuation in all high-risk barangays around the Taal Volcano.
Meanwhile, LGUs in NCR were advised to coordinate with all barangays regarding the influx of evacuees from affected LGUs for security monitoring purposes; and the monitoring of respiratory-related illnesses triggered by ash inhalation for medical assistance.
DILG will also coordinate with Metro Manila LGUs for vehicles, breathing apparatus, and water purifiers that they can commit for possible deployment to affected LGUs in CALABARZON for evacuation assistance purposes.