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Duterte ‘very pleased, very happy’ with government response to Taal eruption

Residents are evacuated out of harm’s way by an Army team on Monday in Laurel, Batangas. (By ROY DOMINGO)

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday praised the government’s response to communities affected by Taal Volcano’s eruptions. 

“From what I’ve gathered and until now what I saw when I landed, I am really very pleased, very happy that all agencies are here on hand and trying their best to do their best to help the community,” Duterte said in his speech during a situation briefing in Batangas. 

On Tuesday, Duterte visited Batangas to inspect to the impact of the eruption in the area and to provide aid to affected communities.

Duterte cited the lack of casualties from the eruption, which he attributed to the prompt response of government agencies and local government units in evacuating people within the 14-kilometer danger zone of Taal volcano. 

Cavite 4th District Rep. Elpido Barzaga Jr. called for a congressional investigation on the alleged failure of concerned government agencies to issue a warning on the imminent eruption of Taal Volcano on Sunday.

The lawmaker said this left many people surprised on the impact of the eruption. 

He said the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvolcs) should have already issued a warning a early as 11 a.m. last Sunday when Taal Volcano showed increased volcanic activity. 

In his presentation during the situation briefing, Philvolcs officer-in-charge Renato Solidum confirmed they only alerted the local government of Talisay to start the evacuation of the Taal Volcano Island at around  1 p.m. of Jan. 11. 

As of Jan. 14, the eruption has already affected 30,423 people in Calabarzon alone. The bulk or 15,253 of them are now staying in the 85 evacuation center in Batangas. 

During his visit in Batangas, Duterte provided aid to 1,214 families, who were displaced by the eruption and are now staying in Batangas City.

Duterte also announced he has allocated P160 million to help the victims of the eruption.

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