Phivolcs: We provided sufficient, timely warnings on Taal
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Wednesday said it gave the public sufficient and timely warnings on Taal Volcano’s activities.
Phivolcs officer-in-charge, also Science and Technology Undersecretary Renato Solidum defended the agency over claims that it may have been remiss in informing people living on Volcano Island about the volcano’s restive state.
“Kung ang isang tao ay hindi sumusubaybay sa nangyayari sa Taal, magugulat siya na bigla na lang itong pumutok. Pero kung ikaw ay sumusubaybay sa Taal at taga Island ka, alam mo na may nangyayari na at meron nang abiso (If you have not been monitoring what’s been happening to Taal Volcano, then you would be surprised that it had erupted. But if you are from the Island and you are monitoring it, you know what’s been happening and that there has been an advisory on it),” he added.
According to Ma. Antonia Bornas, chief of Phivolcs’ Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division, people on the Taal Island had already reported unusual behavior from the volcano as early as 8 a.m. on Sunday. Shortly after, Phivolcs recorded a few movements from Taal.
“Yung ating observatory, nakikipag-ugnayan na sa pamayanan dito sa may pulo (At that time, our observatory had already been coordinating with the community in the island),” said Bornas.
At around 10 a.m., the locals were already told to flee as a precautionary evacuation.
According to her, the continuous volcanic quakes started at 11 a.m., and at 1 p.m., when the Taal’s phreatic eruption happened, the alert status was raised to Level 2 and mass evacuation on the Island was started.
By the time they released their 2:30 p.m. bulletin, Phivolcs said many people on the Island had already been evacuated.
“Nung nagrelease po tayo ng bulletin ng 2:30, initially ay naka-timbre na beforehand ang local government (When we released the bulletin at 2:30p.m., we have already informed the local governments),” said Bornas.
Phivolcs and the Island people
Solidum said as early as March 2019, the Taal Volcano had been on Alert Level 1 and people on the island had been informed and Phivolcs had been issuing regular bulletins since then.
In addition, Bornas said that some members of their team are closely linked with the people of the island.
“Meron po kaming mga colleagues dyan na may mga kamag-anak na taga pulo. Kakilala po nila yung mga barangay captain at kausap po nila yan all the time (We have colleagues who have relatives in the island. They know the barangay chairman and they are in constant communication with each other all the time),” she said.
“Sa grassroots level, meron po tayong direct communication,” Bornas added. “Hindi lang po direct communication, may relationship pa nga ang ating mga colleagues sa observatory with the people on the island.”
Solidum added that they have always been in coordination with the province of Batangas regarding Taal and its dangers.
“Ang main stakeholder natin pag mababa ang alert would be people on the Volcano Island and, of course, the local government,” he said.
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