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Phivolcs welcomes probe amid Taal unrest

07:15 PM January 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said Tuesday it is ready to face any probe regarding its performance amid the Taal eruption.

“We are open to any investigation… It is within the purview of any government official and the citizens to see or check if we are performing our job well,” said Ma. Antonia Bornas, chief of Phivolcs’ Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division.

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Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga earlier called for an investigation on government agencies, including Phivolcs, that are involved in information dissemination amid the Taal eruption, citing “a lack of dissemination of information in the hazards of volcanic activity of Taal Volcano” to the public.

Bornas said they welcome all inquiries regarding Phivolcs’ performance and called their team “hardworking, dedicated, and driven.”

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On the claim of Barzaga that the agency has limited “technical expertise to make a timely forecast of the Taal Volcano eruption,” Bornas said Phivolcs is actually using state-of-the-art technologies and equipment.

For example, she said that since the 1990s, they have been using solar power in their autonomous stations.

“Even before the advent of wifi, we were already using it for our remote stations,” she said. “We are always one step ahead pagdating sa ating technology kasi we take our job seriously.”

Regarding the lawmaker’s inquiry on Phivolcs’ “comprehensive monitoring,” Bornas said pointed out that while Phivolcs has always been “very scared” of Taal volcano, that didn’t stop their people from being there physically to monitor the volcano’s activity.

“We have always been very scared of this volcano at hindi po talaga natinag ang ating pagbabantay sa bulkan na ito. Masyadong mabilis lang ang escalation ng activity,” she said.

Sufficient warning system

Bornas explained that their warning system is based on historical eruptions. However, she pointed out that volcanoes may act differently from how it did before.

Still, she stressed that the 14-kilometer radius danger zone is enough for now.

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“Sa ngayon po, sa palagay po namin ay sufficient na ievacuate yung sa mga high-risk areas na iniindicate po ng ating hazard map,” said Bornas.

TINGNAN: Mapa ng mga panganib ng bulkang Taal.Para makita ng mas malinaw, bisitahin at i-download ang mga hazard maps…

Posted by Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS-DOST) on Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Bornas claimed Phivolcs had the tricky task of calling for the immediate evacuation of affected residents, while not being “alarmist” at the same time, pointing out that evacuation of those in high-risk areas is automatic once the alert status is raised to Level 3.

Since Sunday evening, Taal Volcano has been on Alert Level 4 for imminent hazardous eruption.

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TAGS: Ma. Antonia Bornas, Phivolcs, Taal eruption, Volcanic Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division
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