DILG: Volcano Island strictly off limits

January 15, 2020

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) reiterated that Taal Volcano Island located in the middle of Taal Lake is strictly off limits to any and all persons and have directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to stop and prevent those who wish to return to the island to retrieve their belongings or rescue their animals such as horses and cows.

“Secretary Eduardo M. Año is appealing to the public not to attempt to return to the island as it is a permanent danger zone. Without clearance from PHIVOLCS, the island is strictly off limits and the Secretary has given instructions to the PNP to enforce this directive,” said USec. Jonathan Malaya, DILG Spokesperson.

He noted that Taal Volcano is still under Alert Level 4 and a hazardous explosive eruption is hours or days away. “It is simply too dangerous for anyone to go back to the island. Human lives must be our first priority,” he said.

As to the request of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to rescue animals within the 14-km high-risk area from the Taal main crater but located in the mainland, it may be allowed on a case-to-case basis upon proper coordination with local disaster authorities.

“Secretary Año will allow the rescue of animals in the evacuated areas so long as it’s in the mainland and not in the volcano island and with proper coordination with local disaster authorities. We will treat this on a case-to-case basis and subject to the approval of local authorities depending on the prevailing situation,” he said.

The exact number of animals impacted by the eruption of Taal Volcano is not yet known. Animal rights organization PETA said rescue teams have obtained a telescope to look for survivors and will attempt to gain access to areas where animals have been trapped.

PETA said it has also deployed rescuers in the evacuation areas giving food, water, and veterinary care to dogs and cats abandoned or taken to centers “They will continue caring for these animals until they can be reunited with their owners or placed in safe shelters,” it said.

The organization also called for items needed for relief operations for animals affected by the eruption.