DOE activates task force on energy resiliency following Monday’s 6.1 magnitude quake

Maris Federez   •   April 22, 2019   •   1192

The Department of Energy (DOE) has activated the Task Force Energy Resiliency (TFER) in light of Monday afternoon’s 6.1 magnitude earthquake.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has initially reported the earthquake at magnitude 5.7, but later on, revised the report and raised the magnitude to 6.1.

The DOE also announced that the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines’ (NGCP) initial report indicated that the earthquake caused power interruptions in Pangasinan, Pampanga, La Union, and Bataan.

The NGCP also reported that the provinces of Quezon, Batangas, Camarines Sur, and Sorsogon were also affected but have already been restored.

The DOE advised that in the event that the affected facilities and capacities will be unable to come online, the occurrence of power outages is probable.

The energy department assured that situation updates on the status of energy facilities will be released as soon as the information becomes available. – Maris Federez

Know possible hazards in your area with web app ‘Hazard Hunter’

Marje Pelayo   •   July 16, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Want to know potential hazards within your area?

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) on Tuesday (July 16) launched a web application dubbed as ‘Hazard Hunter’ which provides the public with information on the possible dangers that may happen in a specific area like earthquake, flood or even volcanic eruption.

‘Hazard Hunter’ is a web-based application that can be accessed on desktop, laptop or in smart phones.

To access, just load https://hazardhunter.georisk.gov.ph/ on your web browser.

A welcome message will lead you to the Hazard Hunter official page.

You will be asked to proceed until you see the full map of the Philippines.

Click on the menu bar then several options on the type of hazards that may be present in your area will appear – seismic for earthquakes, volcanic for volcanoes and hydro-meteorological for flood and storm-related hazards.

Click on the type of hazard then select an area by pointing the cursor to the place of inquiry on the map.

Double click on the area of choice.

The system will immediately load the results that will flash on the right side of the screen.

For instance, Baseco compound in Manila has a population of about 60,000 people.

Based on the app’s reading, Baseco is about 12 kilometers away from the West Valley Fault.

Residents in Baseco may feel ground shaking of up to intensity 8 once the West Valley Fault moves in an event called the Big One.

The area is prone to liquefaction and could suffer from up to four-meter-high tsunami as it is near Manila Bay.

Based on the app, Baseco is less likely to be affected if ever the nearest active volcano, Mount Taal in Batangas, erupts.

Taal Lake is about 58 kilometers away from Baseco.

Baseco is a flood-prone area and floodwater can go as high as two meters and can take up to three days to subside.

During the onset of a severe tropical cyclone, the area could suffer from storm surge as high as 4 meters.

But there is no possibility of a landslide in the area.

The app also has detailed recommendations or suggestions for a plan of action during a specific hazard.

Science and Technology Undersecretary and PHIVOLCS OIC Renato Solidum believes ‘Hazard Hunter’ will enable the public to prepare and plan ahead of a natural disaster.

Government agencies will also be guided for appropriate actions to be taken to minimize or prevent the loss of lives and damage to properties.

“Hindi naman masama na may hazards diyan. What is important is that the hazard is recognized so that the developer can develop approaches to lessen the impact, to mitigate the possible impact,” Solidum noted.

Solidum said even his own house sits on a location that is hazard-prone but recognizing the dangers enabled him to plan for his and his family’s protection.

“Tinaasan ko yung bahay. Ginawa kong three floors para hindi ako mamatay sa baha (What I did was I elevated my house. I made it into three floors to keep me safe from the flood),” he said.

“Inayos ko yung foundation ng building para sa shaking ng liquefaction. So mga ganung klaseng real life application magagamit (ang Hazard Hunter) (I aligned the foundation of the building in case of shaking during liquefaction. During those real-life applications, [Hazard Hunter] can be useful),” he added.

Before the end of the year, PHIVOLCS plans to launch the mobile version of the website. – with details from Rey Pelayo

Mount Bulusan shows abnormality, now on alert level 1

Maris Federez   •   May 10, 2019

File photo: Mt. Bulusan

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has raised the alert on Mount Bulusan in Sorsogon to level 1.

This after the volcano showed abnormal activities, based on the number of volcanic earthquakes recorded in the past days.

Phivolcs senior science research specialist, Dr. Paul Alanis, said, “ang na-detect po namin sa Bulusan ay may abnormal na bilang o number ng mga paglindol at yung medyo tumaas din po yung temperatura ng mga hot spring sa paligid ng bulkan. At bukod doon mayroon kaming na-detect na kunting pamamaga ng bulkan or inflation [We detected an abnormal number of earthquakes and a slight rising of temperature in the hot springs surrounding the mountain. Aside from that, we also detected a slight inflation of the volcano].”

Phivolcs said the mountain’s abnormal activity is possibly hydrothermal eruption, meaning it is caused by the extreme heat of the water in the earth’s crust and not by magma.

Alanis added that phreatic eruptions are still likely to happen in Mount Bulusan in the coming days.

Phivolcs, however, has assured that should Bulusan completely explode, it will not be as strong as that of Mayon Volcano in Albay.

Dr. Alanis also advised the residents around Mount Bulusan to stay clear of the mountain.

“Iwasan po natin ang pagpasok sa 4km permanent danger zone. Samantala naman po yung mga nakatira sa ilog maging alerto po lalo na ngayon magsisimula na ang pag-ulan [Do not enter the 4km permanent danger zone. Those living near the river must be alert, especially now that the rainy season is about to start],” he added. (with details from Allan Manansala) /mbmf

BI operations in airports now back to normal after Lent, earthquake

Maris Federez   •   April 29, 2019

A passenger passing thru one of NAIA’s E-gates.

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration’s (BI) operations in major airports are now back to normal following the surge in the volume of passengers during the Holy Week break and the magnitude 6.1 earthquake that hit the Central Luzon on April 22.

This was announced by Bi port operations division chief Grifton Medina on Sunday (April 28), adding that the agency’s operations in Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and Clark International Airport (CIA) have already normalized.

“Immigration operations at Clark airport are now back to normal after we resumed full operation on Wednesday following the closure due to earthquake damage,” Medina added.

The BI official also reported that they were able to effectively managed the influx of passengers, including the ones diverted from the CIA, because of the implementation of the personnel augmentation scheme, and the fully functional electronic gates at the airports.

“I’d like to commend our immigration officers in the frontlines for maintaining vigilance and professionalism during the past weeks. Rest assured that we will strive to be a more efficient bureau in the coming years,” he added.

Mediana further said that the immigration officers who were part of the augmentation scheme are now back to the BI main office and other immigration field and satellite offices.

Meanwhile, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente announced that he has ordered the collection of in-kind donations from their employees for the recent earthquake victims.

He said the BI offices in Clark and Angeles will serve as the repository of donations from employees. He had also sent several bureau personnel to assist in the relief efforts.

“We have likewise sent men to assist in the relief efforts. We will be extending help wherever possible,” he noted.  –Maris Federez

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