MANILA, Philippines – Several residents are risking their lives to salvage their belongings and animals despite the dangers of returning to Taal volcano island.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reiterated that going inside the 14-kilometer permanent danger zone in the volcano island is illegal and highly dangerous because Taal Volcano may erupt anytime.
“Kung ni-rescue man po nila, mabuti at nagpapasalamat po tayo na ganun na nabuhay po ang mga alaga nila (It’s good and we appreciate that they were able to rescue their animals alive),” NDRRMC Spokesperson Mark Timbal said.
“Pero ang ikinakakaba po naming ay iyong kanilang pagbalik. Kasi they violated an ‘off-limits’ arrangement natin at saka ‘yung mandatory evacuation order for that particular area (But what we are concerned about is their journey back to the safe zone. They are violating our ‘off-limits’ arrangement and the mandatory evacuation order for that particular area),” he added.
Several images and videos were uploaded on social media showing residents ferrying their livestock to the shore.
Also, several members of animal welfare teams were reportedly caught stranded on the island.
According to the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), the three members of the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), were already rescued to safety.
“Kaninang umaga, tumawag kasi sila na medyo na-stranded nga daw sila. So, they asked for help to contact ang Coast Guard na mabilis naman pong umaksyon. Nakuha naman po sila (They called this morning asking for help to contact the Coast Guard because they were stranded. The Coast Guard immediately launched a rescue operation and they were brought to safety),” explained PAWS Executive Director Anna Cabrera.
The NDRRMC said residents and NGOs should coordinate first with them before they venture to the danger zone to discuss proper rescue procedures in rescuing the animals.
“Maganda po ang intensyon nila, pero (Their intention is good but) what we are worried about is, what if something bad happens and they are within the 14-kilometer danger zone,” Timbal said.
“Hindi po natin maga-guarantee ang safety ng mga taong ito (We cannot guarantee the safety of these people),” he added. MNP (with details from Harlene Delgado)