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Batangas governor nixes ever having residents on Taal Volcano island due to risk

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By Noreen Jazul

Batangas Vice Gov. Mark Leviste said no one will be allowed to reside on Taal Volcano Island even after the situation there normalizes.

A bird's eye view of mud-covered houses at the foot of Taal volcano as seen from a Philippine airforce helicopter during an aerial survey on January 21, 2020. (Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

A bird’s eye view of mud-covered houses at the foot of Taal volcano as seen from a Philippine airforce helicopter during an aerial survey on January 21, 2020. (Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Dahil sa nangyari na nga ito [ang Taal eruption], ito ay pagkakataon at senyales na rin para malinawagan ang lahat, hindi talaga pwedeng tumira diyan [sa Volcano Island],” Leviste told CNN Philippines Wednesday.

(Because this has happened, this is an opportunity and a sign to enlighten everyone that no one can live on Volcano Island.)

“Under our watch, iyon ang titiyakin namin…hindi na po pababalikin [ang mga residente] diyan [sa Volcano Island].” (We’ll make sure we won’t allow residents to return there.)

Leviste admitted the provincial government has been “lax” in terms of allowing Batangueños to reside on Volcano Island despite it being declared a danger zone.

“Actually we did not allow…naging lax po kami sapagkat nakasanayan na po namin, kultura na ng ating mga kababayan, at ‘di naman talaga tuluyang sasabog. Nakasanayan na nila yung risk ng Taal Volcano, even if we know that it was an active volcano,” Leviste said.

(We became lax because we got used to it, it’s part of our countrymen’s culture, and anyway it doesn’t continually erupt. They got used to the risk of living near Taal Volcano.)

The Batangas vice governor said the provincial government has provided relocation sites in Balete, Rosario, and San Juan.

Read more: Taal alert level 4 up after phreatic eruption

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