Despite possible effects on his faltering health, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte bucked fate and faced hundreds of evacuees at a Batangas city sports complex while Taal volcano rumbles. Not to be outdone, Duterte’s vice, Leni Robredo, visited three evacuation centers and called for more donations to help affected families who evacuated to safer grounds due to the rumbling of Taal Volcano.
The president praised his own officials for the immediate evacuation which were undertaken since last Sunday. What the president did not know is that most of those who evacuated made it to safer grounds thru their own efforts. Residents of several towns, according to Currentph.com sources, left their own homes when they saw the humongous plumes of smoke emitted by Taal. More residents left Agoncillo and Laurel towns amidst continuous rumblings and shakings of the ground.
The fact is, the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) reported only 30,000 families when there is a bigger number of families which did not directly evacuate to evacuation centers but went straight to other towns and even went as far as Laguna and Quezon provinces for shelter. They remain unaccounted.
Sources told Currentph.com that government will have a harder time managing evacuation efforts since evacuees from affected towns are dispersed at different locations all throughout Batangas. Tagaytay City which is about 20 or more kilometers away, is still populated and the reported decision by the city government to undertake “forced evacuation” is still up in the air.
Reports also reached Currentph.com that residents continue to return to their homes despite an official declaration that Taal lake is now a “no man’s island.” It was Defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana who recommended to Duterte to immediately declare Taal island lake as such, to empower the AFP and the PNP to enforce the law against violators. It is however, unclear what sanctions these residents would get once they set foot at the declared no man’s zone.
The PHILVOCS maintains an alert level 4 status for Taal, as indications point to the continuous rumblings caused by rising magma. Ground fissures had been noticed in the town of Lemery, with reports showing these ground cracks had extended to about 3 kilometers long. Maria Brosas, a PHILVOCS expert says that these fissures indicate that magma had already reached Lemery.
Residents in Batangas continue to experience ground rumblings caused by continuous earthquakes as magma moves from the crater lake to other areas. Rene Solidum, chief of the country’s volcanology agency, says this is one symptom of a possible hazardous eruption within days. It is, however, uncertain when this major eruption would occur.