DOT urges tourists to halt non-essential trips to Batangas high-risk towns

Rosette Adel - Philstar.com
DOT urges tourists to halt non-essential trips to Batangas high-risk towns
People take photos of a phreatic explosion from the Taal Volcano as seen from the town of Tagaytay in Cavite province, southwest of Manila, on Jan. 12, 2020.
AFP / Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism on Thursday encouraged tourists to postpone any tourism activity and non-essential travels to high-risk towns of Batangas amid the Taal Volcano unrest.

It particularly identified the high-risk towns of Agoncillio and Laurel.

The DOT said the tourists should suspend their trips until the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology declares it safe to be in the vicinity.

On Thursday, Phivolcs raised the Alert Level 3 over Taal Volcano after it ejected a one-kilometer plume of steam and magma.

The state volcanologists said they have recorded four short phreatomagmatic eruptions in Taal Volcano at 8 a.m. Friday.

Calabarzon Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said it has already coordinated with the mayors of the affected areas in Batangas for response operations if the volcano “remains unrest.”

The DOT recommended the evacuation of tourists and tourism operators in these high-risk areas. They were also advised to take precautionary measures.

“We would also like to remind the public that Taal Volcano Island is a Permanent Danger Zone and entry is prohibited,” the DOT said in a statement.

“The health and safety of our visitors and the locals remain the top priority of the DOT during this time,” it added.

As of Friday morning, around 172 individuals are staying in four evacuation centers in Batangas City, according to the Office of the Civil Defense.

Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum Jr. said the evacuation would remain gradual due to the added precautionary measures in light of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the DOT said tourists that will need assistance may contact the DOT CALABARZON Regional Office through telephone (049) 508-0741 and email [email protected].



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