Taal residents brave danger to rescue animals from volcano island

Marje Pelayo   •   January 14, 2020   •   858

 Residents return from the volcano island after rescuing animal survivors affected by the thick ashfall in Balete, Batangas. (Photo: Sonny Rivas)

BATANGAS, Philippines – Aside from fishing, residents in the municipality of Balete in this province make a living from raising livestock especially horses which they use to tour visitors around Taal Volcano’s crater.

When the volcano started erupting, residents were forced to evacuate but they couldn’t just leave their beloved animals.

Resident Sonny Rivas shared on Facebook moving pictures of residents who braved the risk of going back to the volcano island just to rescue the animals left behind by their owners.

Sabi po noong mga nagdala, marami pa raw pong naiwan doon. Hindi lang daw po nila madala lahat (They said a number of animals remain on the island. They just couldn’t rescue all of them),” he told UNTV.

Alert Level 4 remains over Taal Volcano and Sonny said only a few residents remain in their town.

His entire family is also about to leave once they have packed everything they need as they head to safety.

He calls on other residents to also evacuate before a major eruption occurs.

Pumunta muna po sila sa safe zone. Iba na po ang nagsisigurado (They should leave for safer zones. It is still important to be safe),” he said.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) warned of a possible explosive eruption of Taal volcano anytime within hours or days.

PHIVOLCS OIC Renato Solidum in a series of press briefings has been calling for cooperation from surrounding communities to heed to evacuation orders.

“We need the cooperation of everyone. The scenario of hazardous eruption is a real scenario that has been exhibited by Taal volcano. If we look at those scenarios, the impact is quite significant,” he said Tuesday (January 14).

READ: Intense earthquakes in Taal indicate possible ‘explosive eruption’ —  PHIVOLCS

For now, Sonny said, they appeal for government support not only short-term aid but all the help for them to recover as Taal’s wrath already destroyed their source of living.  

“Sana naman po ay matulungan po lalo na po sa pangkabuhayan (We ask for assistance especially livelihood),” he concluded.

Phivolcs sees geohazard, flooding risks in Bulacan Airport

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 25, 2020

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)

Magnitude 6.4 rocks Davao Occidental

Maris Federez   •   September 7, 2020

A magnitude 6.4 earthquake shook Davao Occidental at around 11:23 in the evening of Sunday, Sept. 6.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said the tremor was located east of Don Marcelino in Davao Occidental with a depth of 149 kilometers.

The quake was tectonic in origin.

Phivolcs is yet to report initial damage, although it warned of aftershocks in the affected areas. —/mbmf

PHIVOLCS reminds public to prepare for potential hazards amid COVID-19 pandemic

Marje Pelayo   •   July 29, 2020

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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