No rescue ops will be conducted for those who will be trapped in Taal danger zones

Published January 20, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Aaron Recuenco and Genalyn Kabiling

BATANGAS CITY – There will be no rescue operation for persons trapped within the 14-kilometer danger zone in case of a hazardous eruption of Taal volcano, Joselito Castro, head of the Batangas Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) warned Monday.

Residents of Talisay, Batangas climb on a military to evacuate on the safer ground after the Taal Volcano erupted (Ali Vicoy / MANILA BULLETIN)
Residents of Talisay, Batangas climb on a military to evacuate on the safer ground after the Taal Volcano erupted (Ali Vicoy / MANILA BULLETIN)

“We will not risk the lives of our responders for them, they have been warned so they must abide,” Castro told Manila Bulletin in an interview here.

Castro said the reason why they are conducting mandatory evacuation is purposely to ensure the safety of everyone in case the hazardous eruption volcanologists warned about suddenly occur.

Taal Volcano remains at Alert Level 4, meaning, hazardous eruption could happen any time.

Meanwhile, the government has strongly advised tourists against visiting Tagaytay for their safety given the existing threat of imminent explosive eruption of Taal Volcano.

Commercial establishments located within the 14-kilometer danger zone around the volcano have also been urged to suspend operations until Taal’s Alert Level 4 has been downgraded, according to Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III.

Tagaytay City, a popular tourist destination known for its cool mountain breeze and breathtaking view of Lake Taal, is among the areas affected by the heavy ashfall brought by Taal’s phreatic explosion eight days ago.  The area is located within the danger zone

“We are discouraging actually tourists or locals to go up to Tagaytay dahil nasa Alert Level 4. Mamaya pag-akyat nila, biglang sumabog, makakadagdag pa sila sa tutulungan (If they go there and the volcano erupts, they will just add to those who will need assistance). We are really discouraging them from going to the area or even Tagaytay City,” Densing said during the “Laking Handa” press briefing in Malacanang.

On reports that some business establishments have reopened despite government warning, Densing said he would look into the situation.

He said the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) earlier released a memorandum to the city mayor of Tagaytay that “no commercial establishment shall continue to operate until and unless this issue of alert level four has been downgraded.”

“As early as the second day, no more business is operating within the 14 kilometer zone. In fact, even Tagaytay which is at the upper level, wala na pong mga negosyo nag-ooperate doon (businesses are no longer operating there),” he said.

“If they defy the memorandum, we will order the local chief executive to close them down, cancel their mayor’s permit (and/or) their operating permits,” he said.

He said they could also deploy policemen to shut down the businesses that insist on operating in the absence of those permits.

Phivolcs director Renato Solidum Jr., in the same press briefing, said Taal has maintained its volcanic activity and its threat is not waning.

As of January 20, around 53,716 families (215,773 persons) have been affected by the January 12 phreatic eruption of Taal Volcano.

Of this number, Department of Social Welfare and Development spokeswoman Irene Dumlao said 29,242 families are staying in 416 evacuation centers while 17,505 families are taking shelter in their relatives’ houses.

Lurking danger

Based on the reports reaching the PDRRMO, several people continue to sneak past the blockades set up by the police and military personnel in the locked down areas.

There were also reports that some residents continue to fish at the Taal Lake.

Recently, a social media post of at least two netizens entering the Volcano Island also became viral.

Castro said the presence of people at Taal Lake is dangerous especially if a base surge, or lateral explosion would occur.

In the past eruption, scores of people were immediately killed by the intensely hot ring-like cloud of gas and volcanic materials as a result of the base surge.

This is the reason, according to Castro, why they want the 14-kilometer danger zone cleared since nobody could outrun the base surge estimated to travel at 60 to 80 kilometer per hour.

The PDRRMO then appealed to the local residents and other people from going to the danger zones, especially in areas where lockdown is being enforced.

READ MORE: Skip Tagaytay City, tourists told