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

Robie de Guzman   •   January 22, 2020   •   499

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

Taal Volcano island dwellers relocated to Ibaan, Batangas

Robie de Guzman   •   February 4, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Residents of Taal Volcano Island displaced by the volcano’s unrest have been temporarily relocated to another town in Batangas.

Several families who fled their homes in the island were moved to a relocation site in Barangay Talibon in Ibaan town.

The local government relocated them to 123 housing units initially prepared for members of the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Army.

Residents from Barangay Alas-as, Pulang Bato in San Nicolas, and Zone 4 of Talisay, whose homes and livelihood were destroyed by the Taal ashfall, were among those transferred to the site.

Some of the volcano island dwellers were ordered transferred for their safety after the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) declared Taal Volcano Island a permanent danger zone.

Phivolcs has since downgraded the alert status of Taal Volcano from level 4 to level 3, two weeks after its eruption sent thousands of families scrambling for safety. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Sherwin Culubong)

Several homes of Taal evacuees robbed

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 28, 2020

Several evacuees in Laurel, Batangas found their houses robbed after the local government implemented window hours that allowed them to return to homes to check their belongings.

Aside from thick ashes covering dozens of homes, residents of Barangay Gulod, Bugaan East, and Buso-Buso found some of their belongings are missing.

“Gaya ng inipon naming isda diyan pagbalik namin wala nang laman. Noong lock down, six days pagbalik namin wala ng laman, nasayang lang po iyong pagod namin (Like the fish we stored, we returned and it was empty. During the lockdown, we went back after six days and it was empty, all our efforts were wasted),” said Tirso Binaid, one of the fishermen in Laurel, Batangas.

Three barangays in Laurel, Batangas, under the 7-kilometer radius danger zone, are affected by the lockdown of the government.

Laurel, Batangas Mayor Joan Amo said they provided a 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. window hours for the three barangays to feed their livestock.

CALABARZON Police Regional Director Brig. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. called on people not to take advantage of the situation.

“So hindi po ito panahon ng pananamantala (This is not the time to take advantage of others). I will be very strict, we will implement the law to the fullest lalong lalo na iyong nakikita natin na nanamantala sa ating mga kababayan (especially against those who are taking advantage of our fellowmen),” he said.—AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

DOLE opens internship program for 600 families in Mataas na Kahoy, Batangas

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 28, 2020

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has opened an internship program for 600 families in Mataas na Kahoy, Batangas.

DOLE’s government internship program aims to provide temporary jobs to the families affected by the Taal eruption.

Individuals under the internship program will work eight hours a day with one hour lunch break. They will earn P400 a day or P12,000 per month. Only one member per family is allowed to become a beneficiary of the internship program.

Myrna Devilla, one of the beneficiaries, said they help with the cleaning of the evacuation centers in preparation for the resumption of classes. She also said the internship program helps them earn enough money for their daily needs.

“Malaking tulong rin iyon sa amin para pang-kuwan sa aming pangangailangan (It is a huge help for us to sustain our needs),” she said.—AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

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