MANILA, Jan 30, 2020, Philippine Daily Inquirer. He was withdrawing soldiers and members of the national police from Batangas and would leave it to the mayors and local police to manage areas affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano on Jan. 12, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday on the anniversary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.
Mr. Duterte said he was concerned about the health of state forces and was worried that they could get into trouble if residents insisted on entering forbidden areas.
“I’m withdrawing my police. They’ve been there so many weeks already. Their lungs are filled with ash,” the President said.
He was also worried about them getting into an “ugly situation.”
“The problem is, it’s always the government man who is the guilty culprit,” the President said, adding that when a case is filed against state forces, they face it alone.
“I leave it to the (mayors and local police) to enforce the law as mandated by the authorities upstairs,” Mr. Duterte said.
Authorities could only do so much to restrain residents who want to go back to their homes, he added.
“We will leave and if you want to jump into the cauldron of fire and lava, go ahead and make it short,” he said.
Mr. Duterte also paid tribute to the work of the DSWD as first responders during calamities.