By Aaron Recuenco
BATANGAS CITY– Authorities here will launch a massive rescue of animals in the Taal volcano eruption- affected areas starting Thursday amid appeals to include thousands of animals in the evacuation process.
Dr. Romelito Marasigan, head of the Batangas Provincial Veterinary Office, said they tapped the assistance of various animal groups and non-government organizations because the evacuation entails large manpower and resources.
“We will use everything that we have to rescue these animals, especially cows, carabaos, and other animals which are the source of the livelihood of the Batanguenos,” Marasigan told the Manila Bulletin in an interview here.
In a meeting on Wednesday, it was agreed that the focus of the initial wave of animal rescue operations will be in Talisay town starting Thursday morning.
Trucks and other vehicles will be provided by the Provincial Government of Batangas for the effort. The rescued animals will be brought to identified evacuation sites for animals, Marasigan said.
On Wednesday, several local government units were already contacted to find areas where the animals could be temporarily sheltered. But because the rescue of animals is almost impossible as it requires large funds, resources, and manpower, several proposals were agreed upon during the meeting.
First, the local government units in coordination with non-government units will be looking for traders for the on-the-spot selling of livestock animals. “It is better that this should be done so that the owners could earn from their animals rather than leaving them to die,” Marasigan said.
For the pigs and goats, there is a proposal that they be culled and used as food for the evacuees.
Marasigan said the animal evacuation will focus on those in the danger zones, including the towns of Talisay, San Nicolas, Taal, Balete, Lemery, and Agoncillo.
All the rescue operations will be on the mainland because there is a prohibition that bars people from returning to the volcano island. Marasigan said based on rough estimates, there are still more than 100 cows, carabaos, goats, and horses on the island.
“These animals will be rescued as soon as we get a go-signal from the proper authorities to go to the volcano island,” Marasigan said.