Año says some residents in danger zone hiding to avoid being evacuated
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Tuesday said some residents living in the areas within 14-kilometer danger zone from Taal Volcano went into hiding to prevent them from evacuating their houses.
In a radio interview, Año said they are still looking for the two percent of residents from affected areas in Batangas province.
“We are still looking for two percent (residents) who went hiding… there is also an interview that on a certain area that they are 12 residents there still inside… that’s dangerous,” he said.
Año said every affected municipality created mobile patrol groups which check those who were trapped or hiding inside lockdown areas.
He reiterated there will be no more window or visiting hours in the areas within 14-kilometer danger zone which were declared lockdowns.
“According to Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), even if the smoke lessens, the magma activities below the crater continues. Even the recent earthquakes are indicators that there is a chance for an eruption anytime. So until Alert Level 4 is not lifted, we will not let the people be in danger,” he said.
“There will be no window (hours). (A) few days before we allowed for a window (hours) for humanitarian consideration but all mayors implemented it almost everyday. What if the volcano erupts and they die… how can we explain that? So better to implement total lockdown until the volcano rests,” he added.
He reminded the residents that their lives is more important their animals which they considered as livelihood.
“Let’s go on a better option that people are alive because livelihood can return back to them after the calamity… we should really have regulation to ensure safety of the Filipinos,” he said.
Año said he ordered for the release of an advisory which stopped the window hours and they will study any recommendation on possible evacuation of barn animals left in lockdown areas.
He said even the police officers assigned in dangerous areas will be deployed to a safer place.
In an event last Monday, Año said they evacuated 98 percent of the residents in the barangays located within the 14-km high risk danger zone.
He appealed to the public not to return to danger zone areas as the situation in the area is still dangerous since Alert Level 4 is still raised over the volcano.
According to National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), more than 200,000 individuals in Calabarzon were affected by the eruption. Ella Dionisio/DMS