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Phivolcs chief says 4 volcanoes keeping agency busy

/ 08:26 PM September 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said it is currently keeping track of four volcanoes showing “abnormal” activity.

At a Senate budget hearing on Tuesday (Sept. 29), Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum identified the volcanoes as Taal in Batangas, Mayon in Albay, Bulusan in Sorsogon and Kanlaon in Negros Island.

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Taal, which erupted last January, has shown a decrease in restiveness but was also showing changes its activity in the past weeks because of pressure, Solidum said.

“It’s swelling again so we have to continuously monitor it,” Solidum told senators, speaking partly in Filipino.

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Alert level No. 1 had been raised over all four volcanoes, he said. “They can actually have a steam-driven explosion. People should not go within their danger zones,” he added.

At the same hearing, senators expressed concern that Phivolcs’ proposed P133 million budget for 2021 had been disapproved.

Solidum, however, said the budget disapproval won’t disrupt the Phivolcs’ monitoring of volcanoes. But the agency’s IT system and upgrade plans would suffer, he said.

“As you know, many of the monitoring systems now are directly supported by IT,” Solidum said. “Even if you have sensors, these will be operated and evaluated by IT equipment,” he said.

“The main issue is we will slow down in terms of modernizing or putting up more stations,” he added.

Solidum said that the projects that failed to get funds included improving tsunami awareness and community resilience plans.

TSB

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TAGS: budget, Phivolcs, Solidum, volcanoes
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