Duterte lauds Phivolcs action

President Rodrigo Duterte said he was satisfied with the performance of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology despite accusations that it did not issue early warnings about the eruption of Taal Volcano.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the President saw no shortcomings in the way PHIVOLCS advised the public about the volcanic activity.

The Palace, however, will not stop lawmakers from investigating PHIVOLCS, if they want to, adding that this is the prerogative of the legislature.

“It’s up to them. We cannot stop them or discourage them—that is their call,” Panelo said in a briefing.

Panelo lauded PHIVOLCS Director Renato Solidum for explaining the situation well in his updates on the condition of Taal Volcano.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, on the other hand, criticized the call for a congressional probe of PHIVOLCS.

“The mere fact that nobody was reported to have died, I think we should not blame PHIVOLCS and just allow them to do their job,” Lacson said.

Cavite 4th District Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. filed a resolution calling for an investigation into the lack of new bulletins before the volcano’s eruption.

“This is not the time to blame people. The situation is still there. We don’t know what else will happen. And quite regularly they are giving updates. So I think it’s a bit premature if we start blaming them now,” Lacson said.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, on the other hand, urged the Department of Education to have emergency response plans in place for the safety of students and schools in the event of a major eruption, which could come at any time.

The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals finally reached Taal Island and was able to rescue dogs, horses and other animals left abandoned by owners at the height of the Taal Volcano eruption.

READ: PETA comes to rescue of abandoned animal

This after the authorities allowed the group--on a case-to-case basis and with proper coordination with local disaster officials--to conduct rescue operations for the animals within the 14-km high-risk area from the Taal main crater.

PETA was the first charity group to reach Taal island, which is scattered with dead animals and reeks of decomposing flesh.

“Among all this death, there are also survivors—scared dogs, horses, cows, and other animals—and they’re in desperate need of help. Our rescue team is doing everything that it can to evacuate them from the island for urgent veterinary care,” the group said.

One of the animals rescued was a dog named Palakitik.

“Palakitik is a dog who lives on Taal island. Everyone at PETA knows her very well from the horse clinics we’ve been running on the island. She always meets us at the shore and follows us around everywhere,” said Nirali Shah of PETA Asia.

When the eruptions began, the group feared the worst for Palakitik, and when rescue team members stepped onto the island for the first time on Wednesday and called out to her, they didn’t know if she was dead or alive.

“To their amazement, Palakitik came running up through the ash, overjoyed to see friendly faces! After providing her with the only food and clean water she’d likely had since the eruption—and showering her with lots of love and affection—PETA’s team took her off the island to receive veterinary care and to sleep safely in the comfort of a soft bed,” Shah said.

PETA’s team also rescued other animals from the island and said they would not stop working until “everyone is safe.”

The animal rescue team has been on the ground in the evacuation zone since Monday morning, trying to minimize the impact of Taal Volcano’s eruptions by providing abandoned dogs and other animals with food and veterinary care.

READ: Deadly calm: Main crater lake drained of water

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READ: Ashfall destroys P578 million in coffee, other cash crops, livestock and infra

Topics: Rodrigo Duterte , Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology , Taal Volcano , eruption
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