Taal Volcano in ‘abnormal’ state; no reason for panic — Phivolcs

Marje Pelayo   •   March 30, 2019   •   2065

BATANGAS, Philippines – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Thursday (March 28) raised the alert level in Taal Volcano’s main crater after a series of ‘abnormal’ activities.

The agency, however, said the situation should not be a cause for panic.

“Alert Level 1 remains in effect over Taal Volcano. This means that hazardous eruption is not imminent. The public, however, is reminded that the Main Crater should be strictly off-limits because sudden steam explosions may occur and high concentrations of toxic gases may accumulate,” the agency said on its website.

“The public is also reminded that the entire volcano island is a Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ), and permanent settlement on the island is strongly not recommended,” it added.

Phivolcs recorded a series of earthquakes, at least 50 tremors, within the vicinity of the lake since March 22 this year.

Taal Volcano, which sits at the center of Taal Lake, had its most destructive eruptions in 1749, 1754, 1911, and 1965.

In February, Phivolcs officer-in-charge and DOST Undersecretary Renato Solidum, Jr. said that a major eruption of Taal Volcano may affect 100,000 to 200,000 people in Batangas and adjacent provinces.

The phenomenon may also trigger an ash fall that could reach and affect Metro Manila. – Marje Pelayo

Sotto pushes for long-term rehab plan for Batangas after Taal volcano eruption

Robie de Guzman   •   January 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Vicente Sotto III is urging his fellow lawmakers and policy-makers to start drawing up a comprehensive long-term plan for the rehabilitation of the province of Batangas after the eruption of Taal Volcano.

In a statement, Sotto said that while the government had started implementing short-term strategies to address the immediate needs of residents affected by the residents, these would not be enough to help the province get back on its feet again.

“We have to start pooling our ideas to rehabilitate Batangas. We need permanent solutions to resolve post-disaster concerns and help Batangueños recover,” he said.

The senator said the government should be ready to implement rehabilitation programs once Taal Volcano quiets down, and experts declare that the threat of a hazardous eruption is 100 percent over.

He also highlighted the need to address issues on housing, infrastructure, and livelihood, which he stressed will be the top three concerns of the provincial government.

Sotto said the long-term rehabilitation plans should include the provision of temporary and permanent homes to eruption-hit families, repair of roads, buildings and other infrastructures; and small and medium enterprise opportunities, among others.

“Let us not forget the hard lessons we have learned from the rehabilitation of Tacloban and Marawi. We did not have ready programs to help those who were affected by these tragedies, to the chagrin of the residents who relied heavily on the government to help them get back on their feet again,” Sotto said.

The Senate President noted that hundreds of thousands of families living in towns surrounding the Taal Volcano lost their homes and livelihood after thick layers of ashes belched by the volcano on January 12 blanketed their houses.

Their animals and pets were also killed, while volcanic quakes and fissures damaged roads and bridges in several towns.

Businesses have also remained closed, adversely impacting the sources of income of workers.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Sunday, January 26 lowered Taal Volcano’s alert level, which means a decreased tendency towards hazardous eruption.

However, Phivolcs said that “this should not be interpreted that the unrest has ceased or that the threat of a hazardous eruption has disappeared.”

The agency explained it downgraded the alert status following a decline in volcanic earthquakes, slower ground deformation, and weak steam and gas emission at Taal’s main crater.

Several homes of Taal evacuees robbed

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 28, 2020

Several evacuees in Laurel, Batangas found their houses robbed after the local government implemented window hours that allowed them to return to homes to check their belongings.

Aside from thick ashes covering dozens of homes, residents of Barangay Gulod, Bugaan East, and Buso-Buso found some of their belongings are missing.

“Gaya ng inipon naming isda diyan pagbalik namin wala nang laman. Noong lock down, six days pagbalik namin wala ng laman, nasayang lang po iyong pagod namin (Like the fish we stored, we returned and it was empty. During the lockdown, we went back after six days and it was empty, all our efforts were wasted),” said Tirso Binaid, one of the fishermen in Laurel, Batangas.

Three barangays in Laurel, Batangas, under the 7-kilometer radius danger zone, are affected by the lockdown of the government.

Laurel, Batangas Mayor Joan Amo said they provided a 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. window hours for the three barangays to feed their livestock.

CALABARZON Police Regional Director Brig. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. called on people not to take advantage of the situation.

“So hindi po ito panahon ng pananamantala (This is not the time to take advantage of others). I will be very strict, we will implement the law to the fullest lalong lalo na iyong nakikita natin na nanamantala sa ating mga kababayan (especially against those who are taking advantage of our fellowmen),” he said.—AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

DOLE opens internship program for 600 families in Mataas na Kahoy, Batangas

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 28, 2020

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has opened an internship program for 600 families in Mataas na Kahoy, Batangas.

DOLE’s government internship program aims to provide temporary jobs to the families affected by the Taal eruption.

Individuals under the internship program will work eight hours a day with one hour lunch break. They will earn P400 a day or P12,000 per month. Only one member per family is allowed to become a beneficiary of the internship program.

Myrna Devilla, one of the beneficiaries, said they help with the cleaning of the evacuation centers in preparation for the resumption of classes. She also said the internship program helps them earn enough money for their daily needs.

“Malaking tulong rin iyon sa amin para pang-kuwan sa aming pangangailangan (It is a huge help for us to sustain our needs),” she said.—AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

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