Full alert: Cops, MMDA deploy

The Philippine National Police (PNP) is on full alert after Taal Volcano began spewing smoke and ash over the weekend, with all personnel ready for deployment to assist in disaster and relief operations.

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PNP officer-in-charge, Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa earlier ordered the National Capital Region Police Office to dispatch six trucks to Talisay, Batangas, to help in the evacuation of residents affected by the volcanic activity.

The Aviation Security Group and Police Regional Office 3 were also ordered to augment the security at Clark Airport in Pampanga after flights were diverted from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año reminded local officials in the National Capital Region, Region 3, and Region 4-A (Calabarzon)—three regions affected by the eruption—to be “physically present” in their respective LGUs and immediately convene their respective local disaster risk reduction and management councils to ensure immediate and timely disaster response.

Año urged the public to donate clean drinking water, food, emergency medicines and other basic essentials for use by the evacuees.

Donations may be coursed through the Department of Social Welfare and Development or directly to the local government units.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority on Monday deployed 30 rescues and relief personnel to Batangas in response to the provincial government’s request for assistance, said Michael Salalima, head of the MMDA Public Safety Office.

The MMDA also dispatched three military trucks, three ambulances, two fire trucks, 10 portable water purifiers, self-contained breathing apparatus, compressors, and a refiller.

“Two MMDA trucks going in now to assist evacuees. Another team is going to evacuation centers to set up a water purification and other hardware,” he said.

Since Sunday, the MMDA has been coordinating closely with Batangas and Cavite Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office.

The regional health director for Calabarzon, meanwhile, reminded residents suffering from emphysema or asthma, or bronchitis who were exposed to ashfall to seek medical attention immediately to avoid further health complications.

Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo noted that volcanic ash fall is one of the major health hazards brought about by a volcanic eruption. 

He said a person who is exposed may suffer from eye, nose and throat irritation, difficulty in breathing, cough, bronchitis-like illness, and minor skin problems.

Earlier, he placed all government health facilities in the region on full alert status.

Emergency personnel and provincial health team leaders are being deployed to specific areas to provide immediate medical and health services, he said.

The health official also advised residents to stay indoors and keep all the windows and doors closed to avoid volcanic ash from getting inside.

Several legislators on Monday sought more government assistance for those affected by Taal’s volcanic activity.

At the same time, the members of the House of Representatives pushed for a bill that creates the Department of Disaster Resilience.

Quezon City Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo sought immediate relief for those who were rendered homeless as well as the other affected residents.

“I am requesting all government centers to allow the homeless and affected residents to seek shelter in their buildings to enable the victims to avoid the effects of hazardous ash fall on their health,” Castelo said.

Party-list Rep. Michael Romero, on the other hand, said he will ask other House leaders to prioritize deliberations of the various bills creating the Department of Disaster Resilience.

“I believe the Taal Volcano eruption is enough reason for (the) Congress to convene in special session this week to tackle the disaster resilience bills and perhaps authorize additional funding for disaster response measures,” Romero said.

Some customers of Manila Electric Co. in Batangas, Cavite, and Laguna suffered brownouts as a result of volcanic activity in Taal, a company spokesman said.

“The effect of ashfall from Taal’s recent volcanic activity has affected various Meralco circuits in Batangas, Cavite, and Laguna, causing power interruptions and outages in some portions of these provinces,” Meralco spokesman Joe Zaldarriaga said.

Meralco said it is working to restore power in these areas as soon as possible.

Power to some portions of Sta. Rosa, Cabuyao, and Calamba have already been restored, he added.

Meralco is currently on full alert and ready to respond to any power-related emergencies, the company said.

Affected areas include portions of Bacoor, Silang, Amadeo, Indang, Naic, Trece Martirez City, Alfonso, Cavite City, Dasmarinas City of Cavite, portions of Cabuyao and Calamba, Laguna and portions of Talisay, Batangas.

Meralco said all circuits of Tagaytay City currently down. With Benjamin Chavez and PNA

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Topics: Philippine National Police , Taal Volcano , Archie Gamboa , National Capital Region Police Office
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