Residents near Taal Volcano should brace for the possible devastation of their homes, in the event that the volcano's hazardous explosive eruption begins, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said on Tuesday.
In a press conference with Palace reporters, Phivolcs director Renato Solidum said the realistic scenario is evacuees could not return to their home anytime soon since the Taal Volcano is still showing signs of possible hazardous eruption.
Isipin mo lang kung natuloy at Alert Level 5, devastation. Hindi ka naman makakabalik agad. So 'yun 'yung dapat realistic na makita na natin na hindi biro ang ganitong activity (You can think of the possibility that if Alert Level 5 is raised, it means devastation. You cannot return there immediately. So that's the realistic scenario that we should consider, that such volcanic activity is not a joke), he said.
Kasi (Because) at Alert Level 4, that is the warning for the possible hazardous explosive eruption. When that (hazardous explosive eruption) happens, if that really happens, hindi naman makakabalik kasi devastated 'yung lugar (you cannot return because the area is devastated), if that happens. Kung matter of fact lang ang sasabihin mo (If you want a matter of fact), that is the scenario, if it happens, he added.
Taal Volcano, one of the popular tourist attractions in the country that sits in a picturesque lake, is one of the shortest volcanoes in the world and is the second-most active volcano in the Philippines.
It last erupted in 1977, while its most fatal eruption was in 1911, killing more than 1,000 people and devastating villages on the lake shore.
On Sunday, Phivolcs was prompted to raise the Alert Level to 4 or Intense Unrest following the increased number and intensity of volcanic tremors occurring under the restive Taal Volcano.
Solidum warned that the possible hazardous explosive eruption may happen within hours or days.
People near Taal's 14-kilometer radius were told to evacuate
Forced evacuation in some areas in Tagaytay City in Cavite, and in Balete, Laurel, San Nicolas and Agoncillo towns in Batangas is currently underway.
Assistant Secretary Casiano Monilla, Office of Civil Defense deputy administrator for Operations, said around 6,891 families or 30,432 individuals have already been evacuated.
Some 6,317 families, who seek refuge came from Batangas, while the other 574 families were from Cavite, Monilla added.
Despite the high number of evacuees, Monilla noted that residents within the 14-kilometer radius of Taal apparently ignored the dangers of the erupting volcano by defying the government's advice for them to immediately vacate their homes.
Monila, nevertheless, ensured that the government is exhausting all efforts to evacuate all those affected by Taal Volcano's unrest.
Actually, hindi kasi lahat ay sumunod sa advisory na mag-evacuate na. But when the situation worsened, saka lang sila gumagalaw (Actually not all followed the advisory to evacuate. But when the situation worsened, it's the only time when they heeded the advice), he said.
We are doing our best to be able to evacuate everyone, Monilla added.
Solidum said evacuees cannot still go back to their homes, even if Alert Level 4 lowers to Alert Level 2 or 3.
Monilla said the government is ready to help families, who have been displaced by Taal Volcano, which continues spewing lava and plumes of smoke.
(The) DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) is in full control of all the evacuation centers. They have enough resources to provide the services to these 118 evacuation centers, as of now, Monilla said.
Continuously po, tinitignan din ng NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council) ang locations ng evacuations centers na ito, if it is of distant na hindi na ito maapektuhan in case na mag-aggravate ang ating eruption sa Taal (The NRDDM is also continuously checking on the locations of evacuation centers, if it is of distant in case Taal's eruption aggravates), he added.
Heed gov't precautions
Amid Taal Volcano's increased activity, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo appealed to the affected residents to comply with the government's safety measures.
In a separate press conference, the Palace official hoped that those who are living in Batangas and Cavite would realize that the government merely wants to save them from any danger.
He also advised them to avoid going to unsafe places.
"Sa lahat ng mga nanunuod ngayon diyan sa apektadong lugar, makinig po kayo palagi sa mga anunsyo, pahayag na nangggagaling sa iba't ibang ahensya ng gobyerno at ng pamahalaan kaugnay diyan sa inyong mga lugar (To those who are in affected places, listen to the announcement from different government agencies)," Panelo said.
"Pakinggan niyo pong maigi sapagkat yung mga pahayag na' gun, ang layunin po noon ay upang ipaalam sa inyo ang pagnkasalukuyang sitwasyon at kung paano kayo ilalayo sa panganib (Listen very carefully because the announcement's goal is to make you informed about the current situation and to protect you from danger)," he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to visit the areas affected by Taal Volcano's eruption on Tuesday afternoon.
Panelo said the President wants to personally assess the situation of areas near Taal Volcano.
"He (Duterte) wants to see for himself the devastation wrought by the eruption. From there, I suppose he will be making orders," he said.
Gov't to save abandoned animals
As residents near Taal Volcano fled their homes to escape the potentially fatal volcanic eruption, their animals were left abandoned.
Monilla guaranteed that animals of evacuees are part of the government's disaster plan.
"We put premium talaga sa buhay ng tao that's why inuuna natin ang evacuation ng ating mga kababayan na mailayo natin sa threat because of the eruption (We put premium to the lives of the people that's why we first prioritized their evacuation, to ensure that they are saved from threat because of the eruption)," he said.
"And after that, ang next natin na i-evacuate of course, 'yung mga animal after na ma-evacuate natin ang mga tao (animals will be next evacuated of course, after we are able to evacuate all the people)," Monilla added.
People for Ethical Treatment of Animals announced Monday that its rescue team is now providing basic food and veterinary care for animals rescued from the harmful effects of the ashfall from Taal Volcano. (
Source: Philippines News Agency