Camp Vicente Lim, Laguna: Police authorities have started implementing the forced evacuation policy ordered by officials as Alert Level 4 remains over areas near Taal Volcano.
Brig. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr., regional director for Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), ordered police personnel to evacuate all residents in areas under total lockdown.
Police and military officials discussed an exit plan on Wednesday to move people away from danger areas within 48 hours.
“We are in the most crucial times; so, I am ordering the immediate evacuation of all residents within [the 14-kilometer radius] danger zone, including the relocation of our security forces,” Danao said.
The police will set up checkpoints to ensure that no one will slip into the danger zone.
“Mas maiging tayo ay nakahanda sa lahat ng pagkakataon (It is better to be prepared). We value human life over property. Ang kaligtasan po ng lahat ang prayoridad ng kapulisan (The police is after the safety of the people),” the police official said.
Towns and cities under total lockdown include Talisay, Agoncillo, Taal, Balete, San Nicolas, Sta Teresita and Lemery. Under partial lockdown are the towns of Laurel, Tanauan, Mataas na Kahoy, Alitagtag and Malvar.
The forced evacuation of residents in these towns is expected to be completed on Thursday.
“We were given by Phivolcs (Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology) 48 hours, so after 48 hours lahat ng tao namin diyan kukunin na rin namin (we will also pull out our policemen),” Danao said.
Elias Fernandez, regional director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, said officials would bodily carry out residents who refuse to cooperate.
“If maximum persuasion is not effective, we will be forced to do other actions. [We will physically] pull them out of the areas just to save their lives,” Fernandez said.
Philippine National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said policemen deployed in the 14-kilometer danger zone would be moved to safer areas.
Banac said the order to pull out policemen was given based on the advisory of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
Banac said the situation within the permanent danger zone continues to deteriorate.
WITH FRANZ LEWIN EMBUDO AND DARWIN PESCO