MANILA (UPDATE) - President Rodrigo Duterte will visit areas affected by the Taal Volcano eruption in Batangas province.
In an ambush interview after his speech in Fort Bonifacio Monday night, Duterte said he will go to affected areas in Batangas on Tuesday.
"Kainin ko pa 'yang ashfall na 'yan. Pati 'yang Taal, ihian ko pa 'yan," he said, assuring reporters he is healthy enough to go around Batangas.
He also ordered the free distribution of N95 masks, and warned businesses against hoarding the masks.
"Yes. For those who cannot afford it, we will give it free," Duterte told reporters.
The President added he will go around the affected areas to check the situation, and may ask the help of the police and the military for the distribution of the masks.
"Mag-ikot nga ako then I will see how the...'di ibigay ko sa sundalo pati pulis. In times of crisis talaga, all I can... to manage the situation is the military and the police. Nandoon naman sila," Duterte said.
The President spoke in front of the Marines at Fort Bonifacio hours after he returned to Manila from his hometown Davao City.
The entire province has been placed under a state of calamity.
State seismology institute Phivolcs earlier raised the danger level posed by the volcano to 4 out of a possible 5 - meaning "hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days."
One of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines, Taal has erupted more than 30 times in the past 5 centuries, most recently in 1977. An eruption in 1911 killed 1,500 people and one in 1754 lasted for a few months. - with reports from Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News