Gov’t workers hit by Taal eruption may get special emergency leave – CSC

Robie de Guzman   •   January 14, 2020   •   349

A view of roofs covered in ash at a lakeside community two days after an eruption of Taal Volcano, in Agoncillo town, Batangas province, south of Manila, Philippines 14 January 2020.  EPA-EFE/Rolex dela Pena

MANILA, Philippines – Government employees badly-hit by the eruption of Taal volcano may avail of the special five-day emergency leave, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) said Tuesday.

In a statement, the CSC reiterated its Memorandum Circular Nos. 2 and 16, issued in 2012, which contain guidelines for the granting of the special emergency leave to state employees.

Under the guidelines, state employees may apply for five-straight working days or on staggered basis and will not be deducted with leave credits.

The CSC said this privilege may be used for any of the following:

  • For urgent repair and clean-up of damaged house
  • Being stranded in affected areas
  • Disease/illness of employees brought by natural calamity/disaster
  • Caring of immediate family members affected by natural calamity/disaster

The special emergency leave may be availed of by the affected government employees within thirty days from the first day of calamity declaration by proper government agencies/authorities, the CSC said.

It added that the head of office shall take full responsibility for the grant of special emergency leave and verification of the employee’s eligibility applying for the said leave.

“Said verification shall include: validation of place of residence based on latest available records of the affected employee; verification that the place of residence is covered in the declaration of calamity area by the proper government agency; and such other proofs as may be necessary,” the agency said.

Taal Volcano spewed ash and steam on Sunday, January 12, prompting evacuation orders for residents in surrounding villages as precaution for an imminent hazardous eruption.

Taal volcano is currently under alert level 4, which means a hazardous eruption is imminent within hours to days.

PH Navy donates relief goods to Taal victims

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 27, 2020

The Philippine Navy (PN) donated P700,000 worth of relief goods to the municipality of San Luis in Batangas on Sunday (January 26).

According to the Philippine Navy, three evacuation sites where identified for the distribution of the relief goods: San Isidro Labrador Parish Church in Brgy. Poblacion, Taliba Evacuation Center in BrgyTaliba and San Luis Academy in Calumpang West.

Around 4,000 relief goods were given to the evacuees in the three said areas which include a pail, 1 kilo of rice, assorted canned goods, food packs, bottled waters and personal hygiene kits.

Other relief goods from various organizations were also distributed.

“150 mattress foamS from Uratex Company and dozens of various relief items from other PN stakeholders were also distributed in this activity,” according to the Philippine Navy.

Philippine Navy Flag Officer In Command Vice Admiral Robert A. Empedrad said he wants to ensure proper assistance is provided by the Philippine Navy before he retires. Empedrad will be retiring from office by next week.

“We are always willing to assist our stakeholders as we assure everyone that your Navy is always ready to serve in every situation and that you can always count on us,” he said.—AAC

DPWH: 2 road sections in Batangas still on lockdown

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 23, 2020

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said there are two road sections in Batangas that are still on lockdown following the advice of local government units (LGUs).

As of January 22 at 8:00 a.m., the Tanauan–Talisay–Tagaytay Road and Talisay–Laurel–Agoncillo Road remain closed due to the Taal eruption.

“As a safety precaution for personnel, clearing of ashfall, hauling of ashes, and pruning of trees on road sections are being implemented outside the 14-kilometer radius danger zone while clearing operations in areas within the danger zone were temporarily suspended,” the DPWH said in a statement.

All road sections in NCR, Regions III, and IV-B were reported to be passable to all types of vehicles.

Meanwhile, around 500 personnel and 103 equipment are deployed in Region 4-A to provide necessary assistance, including transportation of relief goods to evacuation centers of areas affected.—AAC

Phivolcs: Taal volcanic activity continues to wane but not enough to lower alert level

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 22, 2020

The volcanic activity in Taal continues to wane, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

However, it is still not enough basis to lower the alert level in the region.

Phivolcs’ findings show that the amount of sulfur oxide or ashes emitted by Taal Volcano decreased from 4,000 tonnes per day to 153 tonnes. There is also a decrease in the frequency of volcanic earthquakes.

“Itong mga earthquakes na ito ay unti-unti na silang nag-diminish pati iyong mga low frequency events pero hindi ibig sabihin ay kampante na tayo (These earthquakes are slowly diminishing, even the low-frequency events. But this does not mean we can be lax about it),” according to Phivolcs Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division (VMEPD) Chief Ma. Antonia Bornas.

The agency said the decreased emission can mean the ashes are blocked by the hardened magma in the volcano’s crater. This could also mean a high activity of magma inside the volcano which can prompt a huge eruption at any time.

If the waning of volcanic activity continues in the succeeding days, Phivolcs said they might lower the alert in the Taal region to level 3.

“Ibababa po naman po natin ang alert level after masiguro po natin ang probabilities for an eruption ay mababa na (We will lower the alert level after we assure that all probabilities of eruption are low),” Bornas added.

However, residents are still not allowed to return to their homes even if alert level 3 has been announced by Phivolcs.—AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

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