Alert status over Bicol volcanos stays
LEGAZPI CITY — The lowering of the alert status over Mt. Mayon in Albay province and Mt. Bulusan in Sorsogon province to a normal state is still remote, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).
During the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) meeting on Wednesday, Ed Laguerta, Phivolcs resident volcanologist here, said the two volcanos were still showing signs of abnormalities though the trend of their restiveness was moving from moderate level to quiet period.
Alert Level 2 status over Mayon means it is at a moderate level of unrest. Alert Level 1 (abnormal) status over Bulusan means it is in a state of unrest “probably driven by hydrothermal processes that could generate steam-driven or phreatic eruptions,” Phivolcs said.
According to Laguerta, Mayon still displays fair crater glows and its sulfur dioxide emission of 1,287 tons a day is still beyond its normal level. He said geodetic data also indicated bulging at the volcano’s edifice.
Crater glows, high gas emission, and inflated edifice are signs that magma and gas pressures are present, he said.
“These are the factors that scientifically tell us that it is not advisable to recommend for the lowering of its alert status,” he said.
‘No man’s land’
Alert Level 1 remains over Bulusan for more than a year now because it still exhibits phreatic explosions, volcanic quakes and inflated edifice, Laguerta said.
“These are signs that the volcano is still restive and the possibility of a phreatic explosion could happen,” he said.
Mayon erupted in January, sending 14,352 families or 54,537 people to 50 evacuation centers in three cities and six towns in Albay.
Claudio Yucot, Office of Civil Defense regional director and RDRRMC chair, said the Albay DRRMC is fast-tracking President Duterte’s order on the “no man’s land” zone in the designated 6-kilometer permanent danger zone (PDZ) around Mayon volcano.
The disaster council also proposed the expropriation of 5,500 hectares of land inside the PDZ where 1,456 families are living and claiming that they have land titles.
Earlier, the Phivolcs recommended to the Albay provincial board the passage of an ordinance prohibiting any human activity inside the 6-km PDZ.
“There’s a need for an ordinance that would make the prohibitive zone as a ‘no man’s land,’thus solving the perennial problem of stubborn villagers either living or farming in the designated danger zone,” Laguerta said. — MAR ARGUELLES
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