MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Thursday said it has downgraded the alert on Taal Volcano to level 1 following the decrease in volcanic quakes and surface activity at the main crater.
In its bulletin, Phivolcs said the Taal Volcano’s condition in the succeeding four weeks after its alert was lowered to level 2, has been characterized by low-level volcanic earthquake activity, stabilizing ground deformation of the Taal Caldera and the Taal Volcano Island edifices, and weak surface activity at the Main Crater and the Daang Kastila fissure.
“DOST-PHIVOLCS is lowering the alert status of Taal Volcano from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 1 to reflect the overall decreasing trend in the level of monitoring parameters,” its bulletin reads.
State volcanologists said that alert level 1 means that the volcano is still in “abnormal condition,” and that this “should not be interpreted that unrest has ceased or that the threat of an eruption has disappeared.”
Under alert level 1, sudden steam-driven or phreatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes, minor ashfall and lethal accumulations or expulsions of volcanic gas can occur and threaten areas within the Taal Volcano Island.
The alert level may be raised back to alert level 2 “should pronounced change in monitored parameters forewarn of renewed unrest,” Phivolcs said.
The agency reminded residents that entry to Taal’s permanent danger zone, especially the vicinities of the Main Crater and the Daang Kastila fissure, remains strictly prohibited.
The Taal Volcano was placed under alert level 4 when it spewed ash on January 12 which sent thousands of residents to temporary shelters and disrupted businesses in surrounding areas.
It was later lowered to alert level 2 several weeks later due to decreased unrest. — ROBIE DE GUZMAN
The project site of the proposed New Manila International Airport in Bulacan has geohazard risks, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).
The multi-billion airport is sitting on soft ground and its location is prone to frequent flooding, according to Phivolcs Usec. Renato Solidum.
“Just to be very specific on the facts is that it is far away from the fault. But since it’s underlain by sand with a shallow water table, it’s prone to strong ground shaking and liquefaction,” he said.
Solidum said they conducted an assessment to ensure the safety of the community as well as to protect investments. He recommended making buildings and infrastructure resilient to hazards.
“Dapat iyong building mo ay maayos ang disenyo na maging stable siya habang lumilindol at hindi siya tumagilid. Or pwede mo ring patibayan ang lupa. Bawasan mo iyong tubig, palitan mo iyong lupa, (The building should have a proper design for it to be stable during earthquakes. The ground can also be strengthen by reducing its water content or replacing the soil),” he added.
Meanwhile, San Miguel Holdings Corporation (SMC) said they have been taking into account the risks in designing the P740 billion domestic and international airport in Bulacan. The SMC also assured they have studied the project, including its feasibility, and all possible risks.
“The airport’s design fully takes this into account and we have actually started implementing sustainable measures to address flooding in Bulacan that has existed for several decades and has been made worse by clogged waterways and drainages,” according to SMC.
The corporation also tapped three major global airport construction firms to ensure the airport is resilient, sustainable, and will provide the best benefits for all Filipinos. AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)
MANILA, Philippines — Earthquake drills have been suspended since the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) occupied the government in the past months.
The National Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) acknowledges the risk of COVID-19 transmission if people engage in drills.
“Delikado pa kasi iyan ngayong may pandemya pa, (That is risky given that we are in the midst of a pandemic),” explained the agency’s spokesperson Mark Timbal.
Timbal said they can still resume as soon as a vaccine for COVID-19 is discovered.
“I believe that we will resume the drills once both an effective treatment program as well as an immunization/vaccine is already available,” he added.
Despite the suspension of the drills, the agency said the public gets the information it needs through the local government units through constant information campaigns about disasters and diseases, specifically health protocols in evacuation centers, wearing face mask, using personal protective equipment and practicing social distancing.
The NDRRMC also conducts online training for that matter.
But for the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), it is still important to always prepare for potential disasters like earthquakes, typhoons and serious floodings even in the midst of a pandemic.
Science and Technology Undersecretary and PHIVOLCS OIC Renator Solidum assured that the agency is constantly conducting online seminars among LGUs and assessing the possible impact of disasters like earthquakes in their respective areas.
PHIVOLCS encourages every member of the family to discuss preparations amongst themselves as to what they will do in case of a serious earthquake like where they could possibly go to be safe.
Each family also needs to have an emergency kit in place complete with face masks, alcohol or sanitizer.
“In the past many large scale disasters minsan merong mga natataong mga pandemic. Mahirap iyon kung hindi handa sa pareho, [In the past, there were large scale disasters that happened along with a pandemic. It’s difficult to be in both situations unprepared,]” Solidum explained.
“We should prepared for both, not only for COVID-19 but also other possible large-scale hazards,” he added.
PHIVOLCS has created applications which can be checked for potential hazards in a specific area and these applications can be accessed through the Georisk Philippines website. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)
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