Taal eruption: DILG names Tagaytay City areas that can't open businesses yet

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 21) — The Interior Department on Tuesday cleared up the confusion on which areas of Tagaytay City are barred to open businesses amid ongoing unrest of the Taal Volcano.

Interior Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya, in a press release, said those in the following barangays are forced to evacuate and cease business operations: Bagong Tubig, Kaybagal South (Pob)., Maharlika West, Sambong, San Jose, Silang Junction South, Maharlika East, and Tolentino East. These areas were found to be susceptible to base surges and volcanic tsunami if a powerful Taal eruption happens.

Other areas of Tagaytay not mentioned are allowed to reopen their businesses amid the threat of an imminent hazardous eruption. Malaya said these areas are in the higher portion of Tagaytay Ridge. Business establishments here may reopen based on the discretion of local city executives.

On Monday, Interior Undersecretary Epimaco Densing said a memorandum order was issued to Tagaytay Mayor Agnes Tolentino to stop commercial establishments from operating while Alert Level 4 remains over Taal. He said the defiant establishments may get their business permits canceled, or worse, face closure from the police.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año later clarified that 199 barangays covered by forced evacuation must stay closed including businesses that operate there, but clarified that some areas in Tagaytay are not covered by this order.

State volcanologists previously said Tagaytay Ridge, despite being inside Taal's 14-kilometer danger zone, is not considered a “high-risk” area due to its elevation.

Nearly 50 restaurants, 14 malls and parks, and eight hotels in Tagaytay opened over the weekend as Alert Level 4 remains in effect in Taal, indicating a potential hazardous eruption. Thousands of residents within the 14-kilometer radius of the volcano have been ordered to flee their homes and move to evacuation centers given the looming threat of a deadly explosion.