Duterte to recall cops, soldiers deployed in Taal eruption-hit areas

Robie de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he is eyeing to withdraw the members of the police and military forces deployed in areas affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano.

“I am withdrawing my police in Taal, they have been there for so many weeks already, puno na ang lungs nila ng abo,” Duterte said in a speech during the 69th Founding Anniversary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Quezon City.

The president said he will leave the local government units and police assigned in areas surrounding Taal Volcano to enforce the law as mandated by higher authorities.

The military and police sent some of their personnel to Batangas and nearby areas to help evacuate and secure residents who were fleeing their homes when Taal Volcano first belched thick smoke and ash column on January 12.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) recently downgraded Taal Volcano’s status to alert level 3, which prompted local authorities to allow residents from areas outside the seven-kilometer danger zone from the main crater to go back to their homes.

Alert level 3 means a decreased tendency towards hazardous eruption but Phivolcs said: “this should not be interpreted that the unrest has ceased or that the threat of a hazardous eruption has disappeared.” – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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