MANILA – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, on Monday ordered the PNP Medical Reserve Force (MRF) to prepare for possible deployment to help speed up the Covid-19 vaccination drive in Batangas amid the seismic activities of Taal Volcano.
This, after Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas said hospitals in the province are in full capacity of Covid-19 patients.
Eleazar said he visited some of the evacuation centers in the municipalities of Laurel and Agoncillo on Sunday to check on the condition of the evacuees and assess the security and other needs of the residents affected by the Taal Volcano rumblings.
“Doble ang trahedya na kinakaharap ng ating mga kababayan sa Batangas at ako ay humahanga sa katatagan na ipinapakita nila at ng kanilang LGUs [local government units] sa pagtugon dito gaya ng nakita ko sa pagbisita ko kahapon (The people of Batangas are now facing two tragedies and I admire the resilience they and their LGUs have shown as what I have seen personally during my visit yesterday),” Eleazar said in press conference at Camp Crame on Monday.
“That is why I ordered our Medical Reserve Force to be ready for possible deployment to Batangas to assist in attending to the medical needs of the evacuees,” he added.
Eleazar reiterated that PNP personnel are ready to secure and enforce minimum public health safety standards in evacuation facilities to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.
Police assistance desks, he added, have also been set up to extend aid to evacuees.
He also ordered the strict implementation of police checkpoints to prevent residents from returning to their homes located in the permanent danger zone and other restricted areas as Taal Volcano remains under Alert Leve 3.
He said Calabaron Police Regional Office Director Brig. Gen. Eliseo Cruz is continuously monitoring the situation in the affected barangays that implemented preemptive evacuation.
“PADs (police assistance desks) manned by frontline PNP units and personnel were deployed in designated evacuation centers to ensure security of the evacuees and to assist LGUs in conducting registration and census of evacuees for accounting and organized management of resources. Covid-19 protocol officers were also deployed in evacuation centers to ensure compliance to minimum public health standards in coordination with LGUs and health officers,” Eleazar said.
Taal Volcano continues to emit high levels sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas and steam-rich plumes in the past 24 hours, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said Monday.
In the past 24 hours, Philvocs said Taal generated 17 volcanic earthquakes, reminding the public not to enter the Taal Volcano island and the high-risks Barangays of Agoncillo and Laurel towns.
Phivolcs earlier recommended complete evacuation in the TVI, Taal Lake, Agoncillo, Batangas (Banyaga, Bilibinwang), and Laurel, Batangas (Gulod, Boso-Boso, Lakeshore Bugaan East). (PNA)