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Phivolcs: advisories on Taal backed by science

/ 04:21 AM January 22, 2020

While it acknowledged that Talisay, Batangas, Vice Mayor Charlie Natanauan may be “under a lot of pressure” when he questioned the findings of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), the agency maintained that its advisories on Taal Volcano are backed by science.

“We would like to respect the feelings of the vice mayor, but at the same time, we are firm in our science,” Maria Antonia Bornas, chief of the Phivolcs’ volcano monitoring and eruption prediction division, said on Monday.“We are aware of the plight of those who were displaced, especially those in evacuation centers. We know it’s very stressful for them,” Bornas said.She added: “We are working doubly hard to give [people] information. We’d be the first ones to say [when] it is safe to go back.”

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In a radio interview on Monday, Natanauan blasted Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum over Taal Volcano’s alert level 4, which means hazardous eruption was expected within hours or days. The alert level resulted in the mandatory evacuation of residents within the 14-kilometer permanent danger zone. Natanauan said he would appeal to President Duterte to allow his constituents to return home, saying that the forced evacuation has affected their livelihood and businesses. The vice mayor, who had since earned flak for his comments, further said that the Phivolcs chief should change his “opinion,” and claimed that no scientist can predict a volcano’s eruption. He also claimed that lava from Taal would be rendered harmless when it hits the water in Taal Lake since it would “get wet.”

Since the volcano became restive a week ago, Phivolcs has repeatedly warned the public about base surges, or the rapid, lateral flow of hot gas, volcanic rocks and ash that can travel over water and reach lakeshore towns.At least 14 towns in Batangas, including Talisay, has been placed on lockdown amid Taal’s continued unrest. INQ

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TAGS: Batangas, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Taal Volcano, Talisay, vice mayor Charlie Natanauan
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