PNP to pull out men deployed within Taal danger zone

Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo

POLICE forces deployed within the 14-kilometer danger zone of the Taal Volcano will be pulled out effective Thursday, January 22, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Brigadier General Bernard Banac said.

Banac said the PNP-Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) was given 48 hours to conduct a final sweep to make sure there are no longer residents inside the 14-kilometer danger zone.

“Bukas sisimulan na ang pagwi-withdraw. From the 14-kilometer (danger zone) ilalabas na sila beyond the circumferential line. May risk control points at doon sila mananatili para na rin sa safety ng ating mga kapulisan,” he said.

Banac said the order was based on the guidance provided to them by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology (Phivolcs) regarding the “deteriorating situation” of the Taal Volcano.

“Lalabas na PNP ibig sabihin napaka-delikado ng sitwasyon,” he said.

“Nananawagan kami sa ating mga kababayan doon na sumunod sa otoridad at sa mga babala na wag na bumalik sa permanent danger zone. Sino man ang matatagpuan na pumuslit ay mapipilitan ang PNP na gawin ang forced evacuation at ilalabas sila sa permanent danger zone. Hanggat may magagawa ang PNP gagawin namin pero kung ang sitwasyon ay lumala wala nang magagawa ang PNP kung talagang nilabag parin ng residents ang warnings,” he added.

Banac said at least 13,000 police personnel were rotationally deployed in areas affected by the volcanic eruption.

He assured the continuous deployment of the policemen to ensure peace and order as well as the security of the affected residents.

In its update on Wednesday, January 22, the NDRRMC said 71,717 families or 282,021 persons have been affected by the Taal eruption since January 12.

Of the total, 39,052 families or 148,987 persons were staying in 493 evacuation centers provided by the government.

The disaster council said the cost of assistance provided to the affected population by the government through the Department of Social Welfare and Development has already reached P26.9 million.

Alert level 4 remained raised over Taal Volcano, which means that hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours or days. (SunStar Philippines)