Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said that the President has been in contact with government agencies, giving them orders to immediately address the problems caused by Taal Volcano eruption.
“Ang sabi niya, importante dito lahat ng ahensya ng gobyerno ay nakatutok, handang rumesponde, lalo na ang DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development).
“Nakausap niya ang hepe ng Air Force na sumalubong sa kanya, at nag-deploy naman po sila ng eroplano at handa po silang tumulong kaagad. Ang Department of Health, pakinggan natin ang kanilang mga payo, lalong lalo na sa ating kalusugan,” he said.
“Sa ngayon po ay pinapa-check niya lahat. Hinihingi niya ang reports, lalung-lalo na po sa mga bayan na talagang tinamaan, at ako naman bilang committee chair sa Senado sa health ay kausap ko rin po si Health Secretary Francisco Duque paano tayo makakatulong. Sa abot ng aking makakaya po ay tutulong po kami,” he added.
Go said the President is also concerned with the effect of the eruption to the economy and to the livelihood of Filipinos.
“Talagang worried po ang ating Pangulo dahil malaking kawalan po ito, lalung-lalo na po sa businesses dahil magiging paralyzed po ang negosyo, trabaho. Malaking kawalan po ‘yun sa ating bayan,” he said.
Meanwhile, Go urged the public to cooperate with the government in order to help those most affected by the disaster. He also urged the public to be informed and follow the advisories of concerned agencies, especially from DoH.
“Importante po ang kalusugan. Stay indoors and keep your family safe. If kailangan lumabas, magsuot ng tamang mask para maprotektahan ang sarili sa ashfall,” Go said.
The DoH has already issued several health advisories and guidelines on how the public should act to protect themselves from the effects of the disaster. The health department is also providing health kits, masks, eye drops and medicines to affected communities.
The DoH delivered to affected LGUs around twenty thousand dust masks and will conduct an emergency procurement of 300 thousand more for distribution to affected areas. It will also be distributing eye drops in affected areas and will conduct close monitoring of evacuation centers.
Meanwhile, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) cautioned the public against inhaling smaller volcanic ash. Its air quality monitoring system in Las Piñas City confirmed the presence of Particulate Matter (PM) 10 in the air in Metro Manila which is unhealthy to people with respiratory ailments. What is particularly dangerous is PM2.5 which is far smaller and invisible. When inhaled, it may go directly to the lungs and be absorbed by the bloodstream.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has also dispatched teams to monitor prices of dust masks, particularly the N95 mask recommended by health authorities to prevent inhalation of the dangerous volcanic ash. DTI also warned that it will not hesitate to file appropriate charges against unscrupulous store owners who take advantage of the situation by raising their prices.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is also working with several local government units (LGUs), particularly in Metro Manila, regarding this skyrocketing prices of N95 masks.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) has issued its full alert status for all units and offices in its national headquarters, CALABARZON, Central Luzon, and National Capital Region. All police personnel were directed to be ready for deployment to assist in disaster and relief operations.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) has directed its regional office in CALABARZON to conduct initial damage assessments of affected farmers and fishermen.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has already deployed its personnel and equipment to assist in rescue and evacuation. The AFP and PNP have been deploying trucks and personnel.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is also working double time to fix transportation services, especially affected airports and seaports. It has also placed several buses on standby for possible deployment to assist stranded passengers.
DSWD officials and personnel are already on the ground to assist affected communities, especially those in evacuation centers. Relief goods, food packs, and sleeping kits are being provided.
Three cities and fourteen towns in Batangas and Cavite have conducted their own emergency evacuations already. As of January 13, 6AM, DSWD - CALABARZON reported that at least 15,000 affected individuals are already staying inside 62 evacuation centers. DSWD has 4,863 family food packs available in the Greater Metro Manila warehouse worth P1.77 million and P6 million worth of non-food items. Another P5.2 million standby fund is also available.
Batangas is already under a state of calamity, allowing the provincial government to access its disaster funds.
Lastly, Go urged the public to remain calm and reflect on what they can do to help fellow Filipinos.
“Sa mga oras na ito tayo pinaka kailangang magkaisa, isantabi muna ang pansariling interes para makatulong at makapagserbisyo sa kapwa. Together as one nation, let us pray for our country and do what we can to help our fellow Filipinos,” he said.