DILG orders Batangas LGUs to take measures amid Taal eruption

Interior Secretary Eduardo AAo ordered local government units in Batangas to take appropriate measures and activate operations centers in response to Taal Volcano's phreatic eruption on Sunday afternoon.

"I have issued advisories already for all LGUs of Batangas to convene the local DRRMC (disaster risk reduction and management councils) and activate operation centers (OPCENS) to conduct appropriate actions and necessary evacuations of barangay residents living around Taal Volcano particularly Agoncillo and Laurel Batangas," AAo told Philippine News Agency (PNA) in a text message.

"In coordination with DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) and other agencies, assistance and relief goods will be provided to evacuees," he stressed.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has raised its security alert status in Batangas, specifically in Taal Volcano island and other high-risk areas.

PNP spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, said police units are ready to implement evacuation in coordination with local government officials due to possible hazards of pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami, as warned by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs)

"Local PRO4A (Police Regional Office 4A) units under (Brig. Gen.) Vicente Danao Jr have been directed to prohibit entry of people into the island, and other high risk areas of Agoncillo and Laurel," Banac said in a statement sent to the reporters.

Likewise, local police units around the Taal lake shore are also directed to coordinate with their respective LGUs for immediate action due to possible lakewater disturbances.

PNP officer-in-charge, Lt. Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa, has directed regional directors in Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol and the National Capital Region to immediately activate their respective Disaster Incident Management Task Group, Regional Reactionary Standby Force, and Search and Rescue assets for possible deployment.

RDs, immediately convene your DRRMCs for an inter-agency coordination, assessment and courses of action, Gamboa said.

Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has placed all Luzon-based units on red alert effective 6 p.m. Sunday.

AFP spokesperson, Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said AFP chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Felimon Santos Jr. has ordered the deployment of humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) units in coordination with local DRRMCs to assist local government units affected by the volcanic eruption.

"The Army's 2nd Infantry Division which has Southern Tagalog Region in its Area of Operations has initially dispatched eight military trucks. Disaster Response Teams were also deployed in the towns of Agoncillo, Balete, Talisay, and Laurel --all of Batangas, to assist residents in coordination with the MDRRMC," Arevalo said in a message sent to reporters.

He noted that additional military trucks are on standby at the General Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City for possible deployment.

"We are in constant coordination with the local government units and the Office of Civil Defense and ready to provide available equipment and manpower to assist in disaster response operations," Arevalo said.

Arevalo also enjoined residents in affected areas to exercise necessary caution and voluntarily evacuate to safer places.

Source: Philippines News Agency