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Batangas LGU to prioritize Taal evacuees vaccination –governor

Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas said Sunday that vaccination against COVID-19 of displaced residents due to restive Taal Volcano's threat is a priority.

In a Balitaan sa Maynila media forum, Mandanas likewise said the local government has prepared test kits for evacuees, as well as over 8,000 doses of additional vaccines, which they got from the Metro Manila Council.

The MMC is composed of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, and 17 National Capital Region mayors.

"Sa pamamagitan ni (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos umaabot na ito, mga walong libo tapos mayroong dala si (Health) Secretary (Francisco) Duque III bukas, pupuntahan mismo sa Laurel, at katabing bayan ng Agoncillo," Mandanas told reporters.

(In coordination with MMDA chairman Behur Abalos, we got over 8,000 doses.  Secretary Duque also brought doses that will be distributed to Laurel and Agoncillo.)

Over 5,900 families or more than 15,000 individuals from five barangays in the towns of Agoncillo and Laurel will be directly affected by Taal Volcano's possible eruptions.

Mandanas said over 15,000 people in Batangas have been evacuated as the sulfur dioxide the volcano is emitting  could pose harm to people's health.

"Ibang bayan siyempre lumilikas na rin dahil naamoy na 'yung sulfur" (Residents in other areas have started to flee their homes because of the sulfur), he said.

According to Mandanas, the vaccines will be brought first to the District Hospital in Laurel and then distributed to evacuation centers.

Moreover, he said nurses and other medical frontliners have been deployed to administer the vaccines.

On Sunday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) said the volcano continues to generate high levels of volcanic sulfur dioxide or SO2 as it remained under Alert Level 3 status.

On Saturday, the PHIVOLCS said the Taal Volcano emitted the highest recorded volcanic sulfur dioxide at 14,699 tones per day. This means eruptions could be imminent.

Earlier, the Batangas Provincial Police Office reported that it has deployed 64 search and rescue (SAR) personnel, and 41 Security and MPHS Enforcement Team (LAW and Order Cluster). —LBG, GMA News