BATANGAS CITY, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has ordered concerned local chief executives to strictly implement a total lockdown on barangays deemed as high-risk areas following the ongoing eruption of the Taal Volcano.
DILG Calabarzon OIC Elias Fernandez Jr relayed the order through an urgent memorandum addressed to DILG Batangas OIC Abigail Andres, and DILG Cavite director Lionel Dalope dated Wednesday, January 22.
The DILG officials were instructed to relay the following instructions to concerned officials:
- Ensure that all displaced families and individuals are accommodated in evacuation centers outside the 14-km high risk areas, and that there is uninterrupted provision of basic services to evacuees.
- Set up appropriate warning signs forbidding the entry of any person within but not limited to roads leading to the 14-km high-risk areas, and other alternate passages.
- Remove boats from the lakeshore and vicinity, and bring them to appropriate locations where civilians will not have access, for safekeeping.
Fernandez said business establishments located in the high-risk areas “shall totally cease operations” but added that mayors of local goverments “outside the danger zone but within the 14-kilometer radius have the discretion to allow business operations without compromising public safety and interest.”
This was after some mayors allowed window hours and let residents retrieve valuables from their abandoned homes even after 11 Batangas towns were placed on total lockdown.
In a briefing at Camp Vicente Lim in Laguna on Monday, Calabarzon police chief Brigadier General Vicente Danao Jr said the Philippine National Police together with the Armed Forces of the Philippines have proposed an exit plan for the remaining residents, including the relocation of security forces to the risk control points beyond the 14-km radius within 48 hours.
Danao also instructed the Reactionary Standby Support Force (RSSF) to replace the over 1,500 search and rescue personnel initially deployed in the area so that they too can rest, while those directly affected may leave their base and extricate security equipment and mobilization.