Romualdez asks DOH, LGUs to distribute N95 masks amid Taal Volcano vog
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) and the local government units (LGUs) should distribute N95 masks to residents in areas affected by Taal Volcano’s volcanic smog (vog), House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said.
Romualdez, in a statement, said that people from Batangas, Cavite Laguna, and even Metro Manila — locales near Taal Volcano — should get immediate assistance.
“We have to assist residents of areas around Taal Volcano like Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, and even Metro Manila to cope with this temporary problem,” he said.
According to Romualdez, Deputy Majority Leader and ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Erwin Tulfo informed him that the DOH still has a sufficient supply of N95 face masks left over from the procurement during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have to protect affected residents from volcanic dust and gases and from possible respiratory ailments,” the Speaker stressed, saying that he has made the request to DOH through the House committee on appropriations chairperson and Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Elizaldy Co.
“If they have available drugs for these ailments, they should already preposition them in places where they would be needed,” he said.
There have been reports of vog affecting towns near Taal Volcano as early as Thursday, as the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) noted plumes of gas coming out of the said volcano.
A similar haze was observed over Metro Manila late Thursday and early Friday, prompting most cities to suspend classes to protect students from vog exposure. However, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) later clarified that the haze over Metro Manila was due to emissions from motor vehicles.
However, the state weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration earlier said that the haze or smog can be brought about by floating particles trapped close to the surface because of “thermal inversion, high humidity, and calm wind conditions.”
The particles, Pagasa said, could be from “smoke, pollutants, or volcanic aerosols.”