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DILG insists no commercial establishment should operate within Taal danger zone

Commercial activities within the 14-kilometer danger zone around Taal Volcano remain prohibited, a government official said Monday, after several businesses reopened in Tagaytay City despite the threat of a major eruption.

Interior Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III said they would look into reports that amusement park SkyRanch and some businesses in Tagaytay City, a prime tourist destination near Taal, resumed operations over the weekend.

Densing said the Department of the Interior and Local Government had earlier issued a memorandum to Tagaytay City Mayor Agnes Tolentino to implement its order for establishments to temporarily cease operations due to Taal’s activity.

“I’m very sure that we released a memo to the city mayor of Tagaytay that no commercial establishment shall continue to operate until and unless this issue of Alert Level 4 has been downgraded,” he said at a news conference in Malacañang.

“If they defy the memorandum, we will again direct the local chief executive to close them down, cancel the mayor’s permit and operating permits and if they continue to operate even in the absence of those permits, we will send the Philippine National Police to close them down.”

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) said Alert Level 4 is still in effect over Taal Volcano, meaning hazardous explosive eruption may possibly occur within hours to days.

“We are actually discouraging tourists or locals to go up to Tagaytay dahil nasa Alert Level 4. Mamaya pag-akyat nila biglang sumabog, makakadagdag pa sila sa tutulungan o poprotektahan,” Densing said.

On January 15, Tolentino said the local government had planned to reopen businesses in the city, noting that many tourists have been coming to witness the rumbling of the volcano.

Business establishments in Tagaytay took a hit following Taal’s phreatic explosion on January 12. Some establishments had also experienced power outages. —KBK/RSJ, GMA News