'Hindi kami susunod': Tagaytay won't abide by DILG closure order, Tolentino says

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 20 2020 07:46 PM

Staff of a local events place observe Taal volcano as it spews steam as seen from Tagaytay City on January 17, 2020. The local government has given businesses the go signal to open for business to help them recover losses after closing down in this tourist and wedding events destination. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Tagaytay City will defy the order of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to close commercial establishments while a hazardous Taal Volcano eruption is imminent, Rep. Abraham Tolentino on Monday said.

It is the local government unit which has jurisdiction over commercial enterprises, the lawmaker told DZMM radio. In the case of Tagaytay, it is Mayor Agnes Delgado-Tolentino.

Some businesses reopened 2 days ago after approval by the city mayor and after consultations with the Tourism Council.

“'Yun naman po ay naayon sa batas... (That is the law) Under LGU, ang may power of jurisdiction is still the city mayor,” Tolentino said.

“Nacorrect na po yan ng Phivolcs, inalis na po yung Tagaytay... Kahit po ipatupad, hindi po kami susunod, dahil ang masusunod po, local government, city mayor. Alam nila ‘yun,” he added.

(That was corrected, Phivolcs removed Tagaytay... Even if they impose that, we won't abide dahil we will follow the local government, the city mayor. They know that.)

Tolentino also downplayed the Alert Level 4 raised in the 14-km radius from the volcano crater. There are at least 285 restaurants, 64 road-side eateries, and 56 hotels in Tagaytay, many of them located along the ridges overlooking the volcano.

“Yung naman pong Alert Level 4 is an alert…Paano po kaya makakabangon kung ipapasara natin lahat ng restaurant, ng hotels, kasi isinasama nila kami sa forced evacuation?” he said.

When asked whether Tagaytay is safe, Tolentino said: "Pwede naman bumalik voluntarily, kung ayaw naman nila, nasa kanila na po 'yun."

The city is also paying evacuees who are fit to work for its clean-up drive to help them earn a living, Tolentino said.

"Una, dapat nililinis ang surroundings tulad ng pinatupad namin na cash-for-work. Ang mga evacuees na willing to work, babayaran ng city para linisin ang bubong ng mga schools, para may hanapbuhay pa," Tolentino said.

Local authorities plan to hold a grand reopening of Tagaytay on Jan. 24 in time for Chinese New Year.