Classes in 2 Batangas towns still suspended due to ‘vog’ from Taal volcano
LUCENA CITY — The local government of Agoncillo town in Batangas province continues to suspend in-person classes on Friday, June 9, in public and private schools due to the continued volcanic sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas emission from Taal Volcano, which remains under Alert Level 1.
Local officials led by Mayor Cinderella Reyes reached the decision after a meeting on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Reyes declared the suspension of classes to protect the health of students and teachers after “vog” (volcanic smog) reached the town.
Vog consists of fine droplets containing acidic volcanic gas. It causes irritation to the eyes and throat, and can be harmful to people with respiratory illnesses.
In an advisory on Thursday afternoon, the local government suggested the continued holding of online and modular classes.
On Friday, classes in public and private schools in Talisay town also remained suspended due to vog. Mayor Nestor Natanauan gave the order on Wednesday.
Agoncillo and Talisay are part of the areas that surround the lake, along with Laurel, Sta. Teresita, San Nicolas, Alitagtag, Cuenca, Balete, and Mataasnakahoy towns, and Tanauan and Lipa cities, all in Batangas province. But only the two towns issued the class suspension order.
Local health authorities in all towns surrounding the volcano reminded their residents to wear face masks, preferably N-95, when going out of the house for protection against SO2 plumes from the volcano.
On Wednesday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reported an “ongoing degassing activity” of Taal Volcano.
“An average of 7,680 tonnes/day of volcanic sulfur dioxide or SO2 gas was emitted by Taal yesterday, June 6, preceded by emissions averaging 9,391 tonnes/day on June 5,” the Phivolcs stated in the advisory.
Significant volcanic smog or vog has formed over Taal Caldera and its surrounding areas, the Phivolcs added.
In its 5 a.m. bulletin Friday, the Phivolcs reported emissions of 2,941 tonnes over the past 24 hours that rose to 3,000 meters above Taal Volcano Island.
But the ongoing sulfur dioxide emissions were not an indication to change the alert level, according to Phivolcs officer-in-charge Dr. Teresito Bacolcol.
Authorities in several towns surrounding Taal volcano have advised local residents to remain vigilant and continue to monitor government advisories. INQ