‘Strictly off-limits’: DILG tells PNP to stop residents attempting to return to Taal Volcano Island
Robie de Guzman • January 15, 2020 • 587
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP)to bar anyone from setting foot on the Taal Volcano island as it continues to spew ash.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año issued the directive following reports about residents attempting to return to the volcano island to check on their homes, retrieve their belongings or rescue their livestock.
According to DILG Spokesperson, Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, Año also appealed to the evacuees to refrain from returning to the island as it is a permanent danger zone and “strictly off limits.”
Since Taal Volcano is still under Alert Level 4, which means that a hazardous explosive eruption is hours or days away, the DILG said that returning to the island is too risky.
“It is simply too dangerous for anyone to go back to the island. Human lives must be our first priority,” he said.
Personnel from the Philippine Coast Guard have been patrolling the lake waters around the Taal Volcano to ensure that no evacuees are attempting to return to the island.
In terms of rescuing animals trapped on the island, the DILG said this may be allowed on a case-to-case basis upon proper coordination with local disaster authorities.
“Secretary Año will allow the rescue of animals in the evacuated areas so long as it’s in the mainland and not in the volcano island and with proper coordination with local disaster authorities,” Malaya said.
“We will treat this on a case-to-case basis and subject to the approval of local authorities depending on the prevailing situation,” he added.
The DILG made the statement in response to the appeal of the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) organization to rescue animals within the 14-kilometer high-risk area from the Taal main crater in the mainland.
PETA said rescue teams have obtained a telescope to look for surviving animals and will attempt to gain access to areas where animals have been trapped.
Rescuers were also deployed to evacuation areas to provide food, water, and veterinary care to dogs, cats and other animals taken to centers.
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday announced that the Philippine Emergency Hotline 911 has resumed full operation after a brief hiatus after several of its workers were infected with novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“Malugod pong naming ipinapaalam sa lahat na balik sa normal na po ang ating operasyon sa E911 hotline. Maraming salamat sa inyong pang-uunawa at dasal, nalampasan na ng ating mga kasamahan sa National Call Center ang pagsubok na ito,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement.
The department earlier announced that Emergency 911 calls from the National Call Center were temporarily rerouted to eight local call centers when five emergency telecommunicators (ETCs) tested positive for COVID-19.
Año said that the problem was further aggravated when 20 more detailed personnel from the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) also tested positive for the COVID-19 virus causing further delay in the resumption of the regular operations.
E911 Executive Director Diosdado Valeroso said that the National Call Center had to be disinfected twice after the infection of some BFP telecommunicators.
He added that the 5 ETCs were all asymptomatic and have fully recovered after their 14-day quarantine while the BFP personnel are also back to work.
“We have currently four teams: Team Lapulapu, Team Rizal, Team Bonifacio, and Team Tandang Sora with 18 ETCs each who work round the clock on a 24-hour work shift due to transportation issues,” Valeroso said.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said that 21 reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) laboratories have begun operations in various areas in the country.
Out of the 21 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) laboratories, 14 of them are in Luzon, 3 in Visayas, and 4 in Mindanao. DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said there are currently a total of 130 licensed COVID-19 testing laboratories in the country.
“Batid po natin na sa community transmission talaga malakas ang hawaan nitong COVID-19. Kaya magandang balita po ito na pinapalakas ng ating mga lokal na pamahalaan ang kanilang kapasidad upang matugunan ang pangangailangan ng taumbayan (We know that community transmission of COVID-19 is really high. It is good news that our local government units are boosting their capacity to address the needs of the citizens),” he said.
Año also said the daily number of COVID-19 tests has reached over 30,000. Twenty more COVID-19 testing laboratories are currently being reviewed by the Department of Health. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday urged local government units (LGU) in Metro Manila to endorse to Oplan Kalinga quarantine facilities mild and asymptomatic novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients that could no longer be accommodated in local isolation centers.
In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said there now 4,000 beds available in Oplan Kalinga facilities due to the increase in discharges or recoveries in the previous weeks.
“We urge all Metro Manila LGUs to endorse patients which they can no longer accommodate in their local isolation facilities to endorse them to the Mega TTMFs and Oplan Kalinga Hotels which now has some 4,000 beds available because many have already been discharged,” he said.
Año said this is in compliance with Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Resolution No. 74 which states that all confirmed mild and asymptomatic COVID-19 patients are required to isolate in government-approved facilities, except those who are vulnerable or have comorbidities as certified by a local health officer.
Also exempted in this rule are confirmed mild and asymptomatic COVID-19 patients in areas where the government-recognized isolation centers are in full capacity.
“Meron tayong mga Mega Quarantine Facilities and 31 COVID hotels na kung saan puwede sila mag-isolate. Importante kasi talaga na mailabas sila sa bahay kasi nakahahawa sa pamilya,” the DILG chief said.
According to DILG spokesperson, Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, LGUs can coordinate directly with the One Hospital Command Center (OHCC) located at the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) which was created to facilitate a comprehensive and coordinated response to the pandemic by ensuring an efficient health facility referral in Metro Manila.
Malaya said that with the establishment of the OHCC, LGUs and individuals can now easily locate hospitals or isolation facilities near them.
The DILG said the command center is open 24/7 and individuals needing treatment may call the OHCC hotlines at 0927-728-0750, 0927-728-0753, 0927-728-0755, and 0927-728-0798.
Individuals needing assistance from the OHCC may also download the PureForce Citizens App via Google Play Store or App Store, it added.
UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.