There are still enough resources to assist residents affected by Taal Volcano’s eruption, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.
Lorenzana, chairperson of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), made this assurance, noting that there is still no need to seek aid from foreign countries.
“Hindi naman kailangan. Kayang-kaya naman ng Office of Civil Defense (OCD). Tsaka January pa lang. Marami pa tayong resources (We don’t need it yet. The OCD can handle it. It’s only January. We still have many resources),” Lorenzana said in a press briefing.
“Sa tingin ko naman, hindi naman masyadong ano ito…like yung nangyari sa mga earthquake na nagkakamatayan na. Ito, hindi naman ito very violent na eruption (I think this is not like what’s happening when there are earthquakes that have led to deaths. This one, it’s not a very violent eruption),” he added.
He, however, said the government remains open to foreign aid by countries willing to provide it.
“Let’s see in the coming days kung kinakailangan natin humingi ng aid from the foreign countries (if we need to seek aid from the foreign countries),” he added.
Lorenzana said concerned agencies such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Department of Health (DOH) also continue to provide food, water, and medical assistance to evacuees.
He said his agency will be assessing reports that there are some towns near Taal Volcano that have raised concerns over food shortage.
“We’ll check on it. Sa may bandang Taal na Volcano na ‘yan (In the areas near the Taal Volcano), some of the people there are going there in the morning and leave at night so talagang maipit sila, wala silang pagkain kasi pang isang araw lang pagkain nila (so they’ll really be stuck, they won’t have food because the food they have is good for one day),” Lorenzana said.
“But for other towns na may permanenteng bahay doon, palagay ko naman di sila magkakaroon ng shortage (with permanent houses there, I think they won’t have a food shortage),” he added.
Meanwhile, Lorenzana advised ash fall-affected residents to avoid leaving their homes unless absolutely necessary.
Following reports of a shortage of surgical face masks and N95 masks, Lorenzana said one could improvise by using a handkerchief or face towel to cover their faces.
He assured that the Department of Trade and Industry will impose charges against businesses taking advantage of the urgent need of face masks.
Volcanic ash and gases can cause nose and throat irritation, coughing, bronchitis-like illness, discomfort while breathing, eye irritation, and minor skin problems, the DOH said.
Alert Level 4 has been raised over Taal Volcano which means “hazardous eruption is possible within days”, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).
Residents within the 14-kilometer radius of the volcano have been advised to evacuate due to “high risk to pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami.”
As of posting time, at least 10,000 residents have been evacuated in Batangas, Cavite and other areas affected by Taal’s eruption. (PNA)