Gov’t to permanently bar people from returning to Taal Volcano Island

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 14) — The government will be barring people from returning to the island where Taal Volcano stands.

Hindi na pwedeng pabalikin ‘yung tao doon dahil if there will be another explosion that will be more violent, I think all people there will be at risk sa island,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Tuesday evening at a briefing on Taal Volcano’s eruption.

[Translation: People could no longer be allowed to go back there because they will be at risk if there will be another explosion there.]

Lorenzana said President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the recommendation ahead of the briefing in Batangas province.

There are permanent settlements on the island, which is frequently flocked by tourists despite it being categorized as a permanent danger zone even prior to its eruption as there is a slim chance of survival for anyone who happens to be there when an eruption occurs.

Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga has filed a resolution calling for a probe on the response of government agencies to the eruption of Taal, including the permanent settlement on the volcano.

Taal is still on Alert Level 4 on its third day of unrest as state volcanologists still warn of a more violent eruption coming soon.

Authorities said all residents on the island have been evacuated, but a handful appeared to have managed to visit their houses on Tuesday to check on their belongings.