PCG sends teams, assets to Batangas amid Taal eruption

Robie de Guzman   •   January 14, 2020   •   128

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has deployed its teams and assets to Batangas to help in the evacuation of families affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano.

The PCG said they are currently conducting disaster response operations in several barangays in Talisay and Laurel towns in Batangas and evacuated remaining families heavily affected by the ashfall.

District Southern Tagalog Commander Commodore Leovigildo Panopio reported that the PCG station in Talisay on Monday has successfully transported residents from San Nicolas, Talisay, Nasugbu and Lemery in Batangas to their respective evacuation centers.  

Approximately 300 families were also transferred from the evacuation center in Talisay going to a larger and safer evacuation center in Santo Tomas, Batangas on midnight of January 13, the PCG said.

PCG district in Southern Tagalog also sent medical teams to provide assistance to evacuees who are experiencing difficulties in breathing and other health-related issues caused by inhaled ashfall.

The agency also distributed N95 masks to the evacuees, especially to children, senior citizens, and pregnant women.

The PCG said its Task Force Taal, headed by Commodore Art Abu, has already been activated to implement further disaster response measures, in coordination with the Provincial Disaster Risk Response and Management Office in Batangas.

DPWH: 2 road sections in Batangas still on lockdown

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 23, 2020

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said there are two road sections in Batangas that are still on lockdown following the advice of local government units (LGUs).

As of January 22 at 8:00 a.m., the Tanauan–Talisay–Tagaytay Road and Talisay–Laurel–Agoncillo Road remain closed due to the Taal eruption.

“As a safety precaution for personnel, clearing of ashfall, hauling of ashes, and pruning of trees on road sections are being implemented outside the 14-kilometer radius danger zone while clearing operations in areas within the danger zone were temporarily suspended,” the DPWH said in a statement.

All road sections in NCR, Regions III, and IV-B were reported to be passable to all types of vehicles.

Meanwhile, around 500 personnel and 103 equipment are deployed in Region 4-A to provide necessary assistance, including transportation of relief goods to evacuation centers of areas affected.—AAC

Price freeze on basic commodities declared in Batangas

Marje Pelayo   •   January 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has issued a price freeze on basic commodities in the province of Batangas while the province is dealing with the effects of the Taal Volcano eruption.

In an advisory, DTI-Batangas informs all consumers and retailers that based on Section 6 of Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act, prices in an area proclaimed or declared a disaster area or under a state of calamity or under an emergency shall be automatically frozen at their prevailing prices or placed under automatic price control.

The price freeze followed after the entire province was placed under state of calamity for a period of 60 days due to the unrest of Taal Volcano.

Retailers and consumers are thus advised to follow the prevailing prices or price ceilings of basic goods in the province.

Under the Price Act, any retailer violating the list of prevailing prices of basic commodities will be fined P5,000 up to P1-M.

Basic necessities include coffee, bread, instant noodles, salt, bottled water, canned sardines, processed milk, powdered milk and candles among others.

LIST OF PREVAILING PRICES OF BASIC GOODS IN BATANGAS

Tanauan villages within 14-km Taal danger zone placed on total lockdown

Robie de Guzman   •   January 22, 2020

A cat sits outside a gate in Tanauan, Batangas, Philippines, 17 January 2020. EPA-EFE/MARK R. CRISTINO

MANILA, Philippines – The local government of Tanauan City in Batangas has placed under total lockdown some of its villages that are within the 14-kilometer permanent danger zone of Taal Volcano.

In a report by correspondent Vincent Arboleda on Ito ang Balita on Wednesday, the city government opted to lockdown 21 barangays near Taal Volcano due to the danger of its continued activities.

The total lockdown was implemented after local authorities withdrew the window hours, which allowed residents to enter their villages to check on their homes for several hours ever since Taal Volcano belched smoke and ash plumes on January 12.

Local officials explained they opted to totally bar residents from going back to their villages to protect them from Taal’s possible big explosion.

Taal Volcano remains under alert level 4, which means a hazardous eruption may occur within hours or days.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) earlier warned that in case of a hazardous eruption, a deadly and devastating base surge from the crater could happen and reach the towns around Taal lake.

Local authorities added that the removal of window hours was based on the recommendation of Phivolcs and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Under total lockdown, authorities set up eight staging stations to ensure that no residents will be able to slip back to their homes in 21 villages.

“Dito po pupwesto ‘yung ating mga quick response team. Kasi nga po, at any rate na mag-increase pa ‘yung alert level ng ating bulkan,” Tanauan City Information Officer Ma. Teresia Bunio said.

“Maraming purpose po ‘yan kung saka-sakali po na may mga maiiwan pa doon na mamamataan po nila,” she added.

Checkpoints and barricades were also placed to prevent residents from going in.

Around 75,224 individuals were living in the 21 villages on lockdown.

Most of them are staying in 35 evacuation centers, while others opted to live with their relatives in Laguna and Batangas which were not affected by the Taal Volcano unrest.

“We are just waiting on the go signal ng Phivolcs that it is really safe to let them be back on their places,” Bunio said. – RRD

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