'Bayanihan' sustains Batangas town's retreat from Taal unrest - mayor

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 14 2020 09:09 AM | Updated as of Jan 14 2020 09:25 AM

Residents continue to evacuate in Agoncillo, Batangas to move to safer grounds as Taal Volcano continues to be active on Jan. 13, 2020. Czar Dancel, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Neighboring towns and private groups on Tuesday continued helping authorities in Balete, Batangas in moving residents to safer ground as Taal Volcano threatened to erupt, a local official said. 

Padre Garcia town and Batangas City lent trucks for the evacuation that still needed to move 1,000 families away from 3 barangays near the volcano as of 6 a.m. Tuesday, said Balete Mayor Wilson Maralit.

Private groups, he said, also donated face masks to Balete. 

"Sila po ay tumutulong din talaga. Salamat po sa kanila," he told radio DZMM. 

"Talaga pong buhay na buhay ang pagsasamahan, diwa ng pagkakaibigan ng aming mga kababayan," he added. 

(They are really helping. We thank them. The camaraderie, spirit of friendship is truly alive among our towns.) 

The town, however, needs more masks and fever medicine for children and the elderly, Maralit said. 

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Balete and neighboring Agoncillo town also failed to evacuate residents' pets, livestock and fishpond stocks, said Maralit and Agoncillo Mayor Daniel Reyes. 

Both towns barred residents from leaving evacuation centers to check on their homes, many of which caved under the thick layer of volcanic ash, said their mayors. 

Seismology institute Phivolcs earlier raised the danger level posed by Taal Volcano to 4 out of a possible 5, meaning "hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days."

The Philippines lies on the "Ring of Fire," a belt of volcanoes circling the Pacific Ocean that is also prone to earthquakes.

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 a report from Reuters