National gov’t working with LGUs to respond to continuing Taal Volcano unrest – Año
MANILA, Philippines — National government agencies are working hand-in-hand with local government units to ensure that response measures are in place as Taal Volcano continues to pose an active threat, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said on Monday during the taped weekly briefing with President Rodrigo Duterte.
According to Año, measures are still being implemented as the volcano had been kept under Alert Level 3 by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs). This means that there is a chance for it to erupt if magmatic intrusion continues.
Last July 1, a phreatomagmatic eruption occurred in Taal Volcano, spewing ash and other materials up to 1 kilometer into the air. Due to the activity, Phivolcs advised the evacuation of some barangays in the nearby towns of Agoncillo and Laurel in Batangas.
Town and city governments around Taal Volcano had already started preparations in coordination with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Año said.
According to Año, as of Monday, there are 4,636 families — or a total of 15,473 individuals — have been affected by the volcano’s recent activities.
At least 1,318 families — or 4,720 individuals — are staying in 30 evacuation centers.
Aside from that, Año also assured Duterte that safety protocols were being maintained in the evacuation centers to avoid COVID-19 infections.
After Taal Volcano’s phreatomagmatic eruption, a lot of residents near the tourist spot raised concerns that an eruption similar to what happened in January 2020 would occur.
The January 2020 phreatic eruption sent an ash column that eventually led to ashfall that reached as far as Metro Manila and Central Luzon, displaced several residents due to the thick ashes, and paralyzed several industries in the region.
The thick ashfall actually necessitated the use of face masks even before the COVID-19 pandemic reached the country.
However, Undersecretary Renato Solidum, Phivolcs chief, assured the public volcanologists were not expecting the same intensity of an eruption.
According to Solidum, degassing activities and small but frequent eruptions would mean that the volcano was being depressurized.
Phivolcs still warned though conditions could change if new magma flows in through the channels used by Taal Volcano in 2020.
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