President Rodrigo Duterte arrived Manila on Monday morning after his plane initially had difficulty taking off after Taal Volcano’s eruption caused zero visibility in some areas in the south.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President “could not fly to Manila last (Sunday) night because visibility was — and could still be zero.”
“PRRD just landed in NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) as in just landed and the first aircraft to land,” Panelo said in a statement.
Photos shared by Duterte’s former aide, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go showed the President assessing the aftermath of the Taal Volcano eruption through his airplane window.
Several flights were canceled since Sunday due to the volcanic ash from Taal Volcano, according to the NAIA.
Despite ash fall having reached parts of Metro Manila, Panelo said the President would proceed with his scheduled visit to the Philippine Marine Corps at the Naval Station Jose Francisco in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City on Monday.
“The Marines event this afternoon will push through,” Panelo said, referring to Duterte’s attendance in the awarding of presidential citations and a ceremonial hand-over of firearms.
He assured that appropriate agencies are doing what they need to do in times of calamity per the direction of the President.
The Palace official bared that the President will be having a live one-on-one interview with him anytime this week “to articulate on matters of national concern.”
On Sunday, Duterte ordered authorities to undertake measures necessary to place the people within the perimeter of Taal Volcano out of the danger zone.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, by the authority of the President, has directed the suspension of classes and government work in Calabarzon (Region 4-A), the National Capital Region (NCR), and Region 3 (Central Luzon).
However, the suspension of work does not apply to “frontline response agencies involved in disaster response, delivery of basic and health service, and/or other vital services.”
Medialdea also “highly encouraged” the private sector to suspend work for the safety of their employees.
He advised those affected by Taal’s eruption to cooperate with government response teams.
The public has been asked to stay safe by monitoring official advisories and notices from pertinent agencies of the government, he added.
On Sunday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised Alert Level 4 over Taal Volcano which means “hazardous eruption is possible within days.”
Taal Volcano, the country’s smallest volcano, has been recording tremors as early as 11 a.m. on Sunday.
Agoncillo, Batangas experienced back-to-back earthquakes — the first was a 4.1-magnitude earthquake late Sunday evening while the second quake with the same magnitude early Monday morning. (PNA)