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Taal Volcano Island residents to be relocated to Ibaan town

The displaced residents of Taal Volcano Island—a permanent danger zone—will be relocated to another town in Batangas for their safety, according to the provincial government on Monday.

"Hindi na po pwedeng balikan ang Taal Volcano Island. Mayroon tayong 10,000 residents who used to live on volcano island, sila po ang ating unang priority," Batangas Vice Governor Mark Leviste said in an interview on Unang Balita.

Leviste said they are looking at two facilities in Ibaan, also in Batangas.

"'Yung una ay lugar ng National Housing Authority kung saan mahigit-kumulang 1,000 bahay na... dito natin ililipat ang mga taga-pulo," he said.

The other facility, originally designed to be a drug rehabilitation center, will be a temporary shelter for other evacuees, Leviste added.

Leviste said they also aim to remove the affected from schools that were being used as evacuation centers so that classes — suspended since the January 12 eruption of Taal Volcano — could resume classes.

PHIVOLCS on Sunday downgraded the alert status of Taal Volcano to from Level 4 to Level 3, two weeks after its eruption that sent thousands of families fleeing their homes.

Residents of areas within the seven-kilometer radius danger zone — the towns of Agoncillo and Laurel — were advised not to return to their homes yet. They were just given window hours to visit their residences.

Those from other areas had been allowed to return to their homes but evacuation centers will remain open for those who opt to stay for their safety, according to Leviste. —Dona Magsino/KBK, GMA News