Rody orders cops, soldiers to pull out of Taal

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday ordered the withdrawal of police and military troops in areas affected by Taal eruption, saying their lungs have been filled with ash, as the number of families affected climbed to 109,054 despite the lowering of its status to Alert Level 3.

READ: Further lowering of Taal danger level seen

“I’m withdrawing my police and…they have been there for so many weeks already. By this time, I’m sure that those who rushed there inhaled about one sack of ash already. I’m telling the Army to withdraw them because I pity them. They are also human beings and they suffer,” the President said, adding it is now up to local chief executives to ensure peace and order in the areas.

President Duterte said it is up to the residents if they would return to the areas identified as danger zones.

“We’re leaving. If you want to jump into that cauldron of fire and lava, go ahead. Make it short [and quick],” he said.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, for its part, said the number of affected families was equivalent to 412,217 people living in Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, and Quezon.

Of those, 35,574 families or 125,178 individuals were being sheltered in 497 evacuation centers, while the remainder were said to be taking shelter in the houses of their relatives and friends.

The amount of assistance extended to the affected families by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Health has so far reached P84 million.

Meanwhile, despite the occurrence of low-frequency earthquakes, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology is not yet ruling out a possible eruption of Taal Volcano.

READ: Governor warns: Taal danger lingers

In its 8 a.m. bulletin, the Philippine Seismic Network recorded three volcanic quakes between 5 a.m. on Tuesday and 5 a.m. on Wednesday.

“These earthquakes signify magmatic activity beneath the Taal edifice that could lead to eruptive activity at the main crater,” PHIVOLCS said.

Activity in the volcano’s main crater was described as “moderate to voluminous emission of white to dirty white steam-laden plumes” reaching 600 to 800 meters tall, which drifted northeast.

READ: Phivolcs sees lesser chance of eruption

Sulfur dioxide emission was measured at an average of 64 tons a day.

Alert Level 3 remained in effect, which means that “sudden steam-driven and even weak phreatomagmatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes, ashfall, and lethal volcanic gas expulsions can still occur and threaten areas within Taal Volcano Island and nearby lakeshores.

“DOST-PHIVOLCS recommends that entry into the Taal Volcano Island as well as into areas over Taal Lake and communities west of the island within a seven-kilometer radius from the main crater must be strictly prohibited,” the bulletin says. With PNA

READ: 14 towns in risk zone lock down

READ: 40,000 people bear brunt of Taal eruption

READ: Taal rumbles anew; no power, fuel in some areas

Topics: Rodrigo Duterte , Taal eruption , Alert Level 3 , National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council
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