Taal Volcano in Batangas remains under Alert Level 3 despite weaker activity in the last 24 hours, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said Monday.
While no volcanic earthquakes were detected, Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum said Alert Level 3 would continue due to the volcano’s “intensified magmatic unrest.”
He warned that sudden explosive eruptions and ash falls were possible.
As the government moved almost 4,000 people to safety, Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano urged members of the next Congress to act swiftly on proposals to establish a Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR), saying disaster response should not be done on the fly in a country as prone to natural calamities as the Philippines.
“We can’t have an ad-hoc response to disasters every time. We already know that we live near volcanoes, and we have earthquakes, we’re always hit by storms, we have to have an agency in charge of this and systems in place so that we’re always ready to respond in these times,” said Cayetano, one of the principal authors of House Bill 5989 on the establishment of a DDR.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Monday announced that some 3,850 people have so far been displaced by the continuing unrest of the Taal Volcano.
In its latest situation report, the agency said this is equivalent to more than 1,000 families living in 14 barangays in the towns of Agoncillo and Laurel in the province of Batangas.
Of this number, some 3,460 persons or 956 families are currently staying in 16 evacuation centers while 201 persons or 54 families are being aided outside.
Police Regional Office 4A (Calabarzon) said it is keeping a close watch on areas evacuated by residents affected by Taal’s unrest.
In a statement, PRO 4A director Brig. Gen. Antonio Yarra said they are on full alert to ensure peace and order amid the calamity.
Yarra added that around 1,718 members of the Regional Reactionary Standby Support Force (RSSF) are on standby to augment rescue and relief operations, particularly in the towns of Agoncillo, Laurel, Balete, Talisay and Cuenca.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday deployed 113 cops to secure and enforce minimum public health safety standards in evacuation facilities.
Some personnel from the Philippine Coast Guard and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have also been deployed.
Taal is one of the 24 active volcanoes listed by the Phivolcs. It is the second most active volcano in terms of frequent eruptions.
In a TV interview, Solidum said the sudden decrease in sulfur dioxide emission on Sunday to 1,140 tons might be the result of a block in the main crater.
He said it is still possible to have eruptions there in Taal Volcano, especially in the main crater, because the magma there is in the
shallow part and the interaction of magma and water is the cause of eruptions.