PH Navy’s elite force provides assistance to affected communities in Taal eruption

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 21, 2020   •   249

The elite force of the Philippine Navy has provided assistance to communities in Batangas affected by the Taal eruption.

The Naval Special Operations Group (NAVSOG) distributed relief goods, including food, bottled water and toys to barangays and evacuation centers in towns near Taal Volcano.

According to the Philippine Navy, over a thousand adults and 400 children were given relief goods.

Philippine Navy’s Flag Officer In Command, Vice Admiral Robert A. Empedrad said the Philippine Navy is always ready to extend help to their fellowmen.

“Both our regular and reserve force give diligent efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to people affected by the calamity triggered by the eruption of Taal Volcano. Let us work together to ensure that we deliver all the services needed by our people. Your Philippine Navy is always ready to serve in every situation; we are a force that the Filipino people can always count on,” he said.—AAC

Taal Volcano status lowered to Alert level 2 – Phivolcs

Robie de Guzman   •   February 14, 2020

Aerial photos Taal Volcano eruption aftermath epa08135676 Handout aerial photo provided by the Office of Civil Defense shows the Taal Volcano crater in Batangas province, south of Manila, Philippines, 17 January 2020. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) has kept the alert level at four, following the volcano’s eruption on 12 January 2020. EPA-EFE/OFFICE OF CIVIL DEFENSE HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Friday downgraded Taal Volcano’s status from alert level 3 to alert level 2 following indications of decreased unrest in the recent weeks.

In its bulletin, Phivolcs said it lowered the alert level status of Taal Volcano after three weeks due to less frequent volcanic activity, stabilizing ground deformation of the Taal Caldera and Taal Volcano Island edifices, and weak steam or gas emissions at the Main crater.

“DOST-PHIVOLCS is lowering the alert status of Taal Volcano from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2 to reflect the overall decreasing trend in the level of monitoring parameters,” it said.

Alert Level 2 means there is decreased unrest, but State volcanologists said this should not be interpreted that unrest has ceased or that the threat of an eruption has disappeared.

The agency also reminds the public that at alert level 2, sudden steam-driven or phreatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes, ashfall and lethal accumulations or expulsions of volcanic gas can occur and threaten areas within the volcano island and its coast.

It also advised that entry to the Taal Volcano Island – a permanent danger zone – shall remain prohibited.

“Local government units are advised to additionally assess previously evacuated areas within the seven-kilometer radius for damages and road accessibilities and to strengthen preparedness, contingency and communication measures in case of renewed unrest,” Phivolcs said.

“People are also advised to observe precautions due to ground displacement across fissures, frequent ashfall, and minor earthquakes. Communities beside active river channels particularly where ash from the main eruption phase has been thickly deposited should increase vigilance when there is heavy and prolonged rainfall since the ash can be washed away and form lahars along the channels,” it added.

Civil aviation authorities are also advised to direct pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano as airborne ash and ballistic fragments from sudden explosions and wind-remobilized ash may pose hazards to aircraft.

Phivolcs said alert level 3 may be raised again should an uptrend or pronounced change in monitored parameters forewarn a potential eruption.

On January 12, Taal Volcano spewed kilometers-high ash plumes which prompted state volcanologists to raise its status to alert level 4. Thousands of residents within the 14-kilometer radius from the main crater were ordered to flee their homes due to a possible hazardous eruption.

Two weeks later, Phivolcs downgraded Taal’s status to alert level 3, which allowed displaced residents outside the seven-kilometer danger zone to return to their homes.

PHIVOLCS mulls lowering alert level over Taal Volcano

Marje Pelayo   •   February 12, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) has observed the waning volcanic activities in Taal Volcano.

Although volcanic earthquakes can still be felt around Taal, they are less frequent and less intense according to DOST Undersecretary and PHIVOLCS-OIC, Renato Solidum.

Sulfur dioxide level has also been low in the past days, Solidum said.

Sa 101 earthquakes, may 4 na low frequency earthquake events. Ito yung paggalaw ng magma o hindi kaya ay pagkilos ng gas, (Of the 101 earthquakes, only four were low frequency earthquake events. These could be the movement of magma or emissions of gases),” he said,

Ito ay nangangahulugang mayroon pang magma activity sa paligid ng Taal volcano (This means there is still magma activity around Taal Volcano),” he added.

PHIVOLCS, likewise, is considering the trend of ground deformation or “swelling” of the volcano in its decision to downgrade alert level over Taal which remained at Alert Level 3 since January 26.

Ang aming alam ay nagsa-subside na siya kung ito ay magpatuloy ay baka mai-consider na natin na magbaba tayo ng alert level, (Based on what we observed, (activities) have subsided and if this development continues, we may consider lowering our alert level),” Solidum said.

Solidum clarified, however, that Taal Volcano Island will remain a permanent danger zone even after they downgrade the danger status to Alert Level 2.

To date, residents are still barred from returning to houses within the 7-km radius as risk of explosion remains high.

Meanwhile, those who were allowed to return home are advised to check their structures and do the necessary repairs as occasional ground shaking poses threat of collapse or more serious damage. – MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Joint Task Group Taal visits towns severely affected by Taal eruption

Maris Federez   •   February 6, 2020

The Joint Task Group (JTG) Taal is continually monitoring the towns of Batangas that are severely affected by the Taal Volcano eruption.

The group on Wednesday (Feb. 5) distributed relief goods, in coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

With the Taal Volcano alert level brought down to 3, the group said it will continue its clearing operations on the streets that were covered by ashfall; cleaning of schools and repairing of establishments in the town of Laurel.

“Nakaready tayo sa lahat ng eventualities pati paglikas siyempre priority rin natin ang paglikas,” said AFP chief Ge. Felimon Santos Jr.

Laurel, Batangas Mayor Joan Amo said they are continuously beefing up their readiness to respond to the possible explosion of Taal.

“Bumuo na kami ng contingency plan para sa disaster plan po namin […] Ang panawagan ko lang sa aking mga kababayan sana po ay seryosohin at makinig nang mabuti doon sa aming itatalagang o ibibigay sa kanilang plano base na rin sa pinag-aralan at pinagkasunduan ng buong nanunungkulan dito sa bayan,” Amo said. — (from the report of Sherwin Culubong) /mbmf

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