A general view of houses with roofs covered with ash, spewed by Taal volcano in Tagaytay city, south of Manila on January 14, 2020.
AFP/Ted Aljibe
DILG: No commercial activities in Tagaytay, areas in Taal danger zone
(Philstar.com) - January 20, 2020 - 4:06pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government said Monday that commercial activities within the 14-kilometer danger zone are prohibited while Alert Level 4 is still in effect over Taal Volcano.

Alert Level 4 (Hazardous Eruption Imminent), according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, means a violent eruption can happen within hours or days.

The DILG issued the reminder as dozens of businesses in Tagaytay City in Cavite resumed operations a week after Taal—a volcano set in the middle of a picturesque lake that Tagaytay overlooks—erupted to life.

DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III said the department would look into reports that the Sky Ranch and other businesses—including hotels and restaurants—in Tagaytay have resumed operations.

Memo issued to Tagaytay City

He said the agency issued a “specific” memorandum to Tagaytay Mayor Agnes Tolentino to temporarily stop the operations of business establishments in the city due to Taal’s ongoing volcanic activity.

"I’m very sure that we released a memo to the city mayor of Tagaytay that no commercial establishment shall continue to operate until and unless this issue of Alert Level 4 has been downgraded," Densing said in a press briefing at Malacañang.

Sen. Francis Tolentino, former city mayor and brother-in-law of the incumbent, was quoted in news reports last week as saying businesses in the popular tourist destination would reopen. 

Phivolcs said over CNN Philippines last week that the Tagaytay Ridge—an elevated area overlooking Taal Lake—is “within the 14-kilometer radius but [is] not part of the areas identified as high-risk.

Base surge, or the sideway rush of dangerous volcanic material, is unlikely to reach the ridge but it is still vulnerable to ashfall.

"But of course when there is a strong explosion and the wind would blow to Tagaytay's direction, then there will be ashfall," Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum said.

The DILG official warned the business permits of the establishments that would defy the memorandum may be canceled. If they continue to operate sans permits, they will be shut down by police. 

Phivolcs said Monday that eruptions at Taal Volcano have weakened but a potentially catastrophic blast could still happen within hours or days.

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