Gov’t workers hit by Taal eruption may get special emergency leave – CSC

Robie de Guzman   •   January 14, 2020   •   619

A view of roofs covered in ash at a lakeside community two days after an eruption of Taal Volcano, in Agoncillo town, Batangas province, south of Manila, Philippines 14 January 2020.  EPA-EFE/Rolex dela Pena

MANILA, Philippines – Government employees badly-hit by the eruption of Taal volcano may avail of the special five-day emergency leave, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) said Tuesday.

In a statement, the CSC reiterated its Memorandum Circular Nos. 2 and 16, issued in 2012, which contain guidelines for the granting of the special emergency leave to state employees.

Under the guidelines, state employees may apply for five-straight working days or on staggered basis and will not be deducted with leave credits.

The CSC said this privilege may be used for any of the following:

  • For urgent repair and clean-up of damaged house
  • Being stranded in affected areas
  • Disease/illness of employees brought by natural calamity/disaster
  • Caring of immediate family members affected by natural calamity/disaster

The special emergency leave may be availed of by the affected government employees within thirty days from the first day of calamity declaration by proper government agencies/authorities, the CSC said.

It added that the head of office shall take full responsibility for the grant of special emergency leave and verification of the employee’s eligibility applying for the said leave.

“Said verification shall include: validation of place of residence based on latest available records of the affected employee; verification that the place of residence is covered in the declaration of calamity area by the proper government agency; and such other proofs as may be necessary,” the agency said.

Taal Volcano spewed ash and steam on Sunday, January 12, prompting evacuation orders for residents in surrounding villages as precaution for an imminent hazardous eruption.

Taal volcano is currently under alert level 4, which means a hazardous eruption is imminent within hours to days.

Voter registration in Taal eruption-affected areas to resume on Feb. 3 – Comelec

Robie de Guzman   •   January 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The voter registration in Batangas and Cavite areas affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano will resume on Monday, February 3, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Thursday.

In a statement, Comelec said the voter registration for the 2022 elections will resume in the following places in Batangas province due to a return to normal working conditions:

  • Alitagtag
  • Balete
  • Laurel
  • Lemery
  • San Nicolas
  • Sta. Teresita
  • Taal
  • Talisay
  • Cuenca
  • Lipa City
  • Tanauan City
  • Balayan
  • Calaca
  • Kalatagan
  • Tuy
  • San Luis
  • Mabini
  • Lian
  • Malvar

In Cavite, the poll body said that registration of voters will also resume in Alfonso, Indang, Silang, Tagaytay City, and Amadeo.

Meanwhile, the voter registration in the municipality of Mataas na Kahoy in Batangas will resume on February 10, according to Comelec.

The poll body earlier announced the suspension of the registration in areas within and beyond the 14-kilometer danger zone of Taal Volcano during its eruption.

Duterte to recall cops, soldiers deployed in Taal eruption-hit areas

Robie de Guzman   •   January 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he is eyeing to withdraw the members of the police and military forces deployed in areas affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano.

“I am withdrawing my police in Taal, they have been there for so many weeks already, puno na ang lungs nila ng abo,” Duterte said in a speech during the 69th Founding Anniversary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Quezon City.

The president said he will leave the local government units and police assigned in areas surrounding Taal Volcano to enforce the law as mandated by higher authorities.

The military and police sent some of their personnel to Batangas and nearby areas to help evacuate and secure residents who were fleeing their homes when Taal Volcano first belched thick smoke and ash column on January 12.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) recently downgraded Taal Volcano’s status to alert level 3, which prompted local authorities to allow residents from areas outside the seven-kilometer danger zone from the main crater to go back to their homes.

Alert level 3 means a decreased tendency towards hazardous eruption but Phivolcs said: “this should not be interpreted that the unrest has ceased or that the threat of a hazardous eruption has disappeared.” – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Drone footage captures ash-covered marine life in Balayan Bay

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 29, 2020

UNTV’s underwater drone captured the sorry state of Balayan Bay’s marine life which has been covered in a blanket of volcanic ash from Taal Volcano’s eruption.

Joey Devilla, one of the fishermen in San Luis, said they were finding it difficult to catch fish since the eruption of the Taal volcano. He said there were large amounts of ashfall underwater of Balayan Bay.

“Putik ang ilalim, talaga hong makikita niyo na medyo madilim tsaka wala kayong makikitang maliit na isda (The underwater is murky, you can abrely see anything below and you cannot see any small fishes),” he said.

“Hindi na po nakakahuli ng dulong (silver fish) simula noong pumatak ang maraming ashfall dito sa amin. Kaya po medyo mahirap ngayon ang buhay dahil ito lang ang pinagkakakitaan namin dito sa San Luis (I can no longer catch any silver fish since the ashfall. Life has been quite difficult here [fishing] has been one of our main livelihood here in San Luis),” he added.

UNTV’s drone journalism, which includes air and underwater drone, was spearheaded by Kuya Daniel Razon to provide more detailed information on news reports.

The UNTV drone journalism has already covered several new reports including the Manila Bay Rehabilitation, Star City fire and more.—AAC

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