Taal island not fit for human settlement, says Palace
Malacañang said on Wednesday the island where restive Taal Volcano is located is not fit for human settlement.
This as Department of Science and Technology Undersecretary and Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology ( Phivolcs) head Renato Solidum, in the Virtual Presser held in Malacañang, said President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the recommendation to declare the island at Taal Lake as "no man's land."
"That is part of the approved recommendation that Taal Volcano island should not have permanent habitation," Solidum said.
In a statement, Presidential Spokespeson Salvador Panelo said during the situation briefing in Batangas City on Tuesday, Duterte has "explicitly ordered that no individual should return to the said island."
He said the Philippine National Police ( PNP) has been tasked to prevent those seeking to return to the locality from doing do.
Those affected by the directive will receive the appropriate assistance from the government, he said.
"The Island Volcano of Taal is a Permanent Danger Zone, which suggests that the locality is not fit for human settlement. The Palace is therefore asking the public, particularly those who have been living in the island, for their cooperation and understanding as it is the primordial duty of the government to protect not only their safety and welfare but their very lives," said Panelo, also the chief presidential legal counsel.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, during the situation briefing, proposed that the island where the volcano is located and where there are people also living should be declared as "no man's land."
Panelo also said the Office of the President has also extended financial assistance to citizens directly affected by the ongoing eruption in Batangas.
In particular, he said Duterte handed over P7.5-million to farmers and another P3.5-million to the fisherfolk for their means of livelihood.
Duterte also issued a check to help farmers recover from their displacement and distributed family food packs to distressed families, he said.
Panelo said Duterte also expressed satisfaction over the response of concerned agencies of the national government, in coordination with the local government units, in addressing the disaster.
"While the Palace condemns those who have taken advantage of the situation for their personal or proprietary interests, it however wishes to relay its kudos to the responsible agencies of government for their quick response to the disaster, as well as to those belonging in the private sector for their continued acts of genuine selflessness and volunteerism," he added. Celerina Monte/DMS