Duterte warns Taal evacuees against going home as volcano belches ash, lava

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 14 2020 11:03 PM

MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday warned villagers who fled the rumbling Taal Volcano against returning to their homes, even as he promised them of government assistance.

Just as he promised on Monday, Duterte visited over 3,000 evacuees in the Batangas City Sports Complex.

“Nobody is allowed to go back until such time you are safe,” Duterte told the crowd after distributing relief packs.

The President handed out food packs containing 6 kilos of rice, 4 cans of sardines, 3 cans of corned beef, 2 cans of tuna and 5 sachets of coffee. He also provided P3,000 in cash for each family.

“Nandito ako para tumulong sa mga tao na tinamaan nitong eruption and gagawin ko lahat itong Batangas, Cavite, Laguna at iba pa na matulungan namin para bumalik sa normal,” Duterte said.

(I am here to help people affected by the eruption and I would help everyone in Batangas, Cavite and Laguna until things return to normal.)

State seismologists have also warned evacuees against returning to their homes as Taal Volcano remains under alert level 4, threatening a “hazardous” eruption in the next “hours or days.”

Data from the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) showed that a total of 18,187 people in the Southern Tagalog region have been evacuated as of early Tuesday morning after the volcano expelled gray ash and hot steam last Sunday.

Ashfall from the Taal blanketed Southern Tagalog provinces, with the gray shower even reaching Metro Manila and Central Luzon.