In its 8 a.m. bulletin, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said sulfur dioxide released by Taal Volcano increased to an average of 409 tons per day, which was higher than Friday’s 224 tons a day.
The steam-laden emissions reached areas in the southwest portion of the volcano.
The discharge was reported as the Philippine Coast Guard removed fishing boats from the San Nicolas port in Batangas to prevent residents from slipping through the security cordon imposed by the authorities.
Witnesses said some residents were using the boats to get through unnoticed by guards at checkpoints around the lake.
As of Saturday, the eruption of Taal Volcano had affected nearly 349,000 individuals in Batangas, Quezon, Laguna and Cavite, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
Of the number, 137,994 individuals are staying in 448 evacuation centers.
Phivolcs said based on Taal Volcano Network, 420 small volcanic earthquakes, including 11 low frequency quakes, were recorded within the 24-hour monitoring period.
The volcano’s seismic activity continued, it stressed.
“Seismic activity likely signifies magmatic intrusion beneath the Taal edifice that may lead to eruptive activity,” Phivolcs said.
Activity in the main crater in the past 24 hours was characterized by weak to moderate emission of white steam-laden plumes 100 to 800 meters high from the main crater that drifted southwest.
Alert Level 4 remained in effect over Taal Volcano.
Phivolcs is not ruling out possible explosive eruption within hours to days.
“(The) Department of Science and Technology-Phivolcs recommends total evacuation of Taal Volcano Island and high-risk areas as identified in the hazard maps within the 14-kilometer radius from Taal main crater and along the Pansipit River Valley where fissuring has been observed,” it said.
Meanwhile, a leader of the House of Representatives on Saturday backed President Rodrigo Duterte’s request for the appropriation of an additional P30 billion for communities affected by Taal’s eruption.
The P16-billion national disaster risk reduction and management fund, formerly calamity fund, in the national budget for this year “is hardly enough even for this one calamity that has visited our people in Cavite and Batangas,” 1-PACMAN Party-list Rep. Mikee Romero said.
Romero said of the P16 billion, P3.5 billion was reserved for the rehabilitation of Marawi City, while P5 billion was allocated for communities devastated by last year’s earthquakes in the Davao-Soccsksargen regions.
Thus, the President can only use P7.5 billion of this year’s calamity fund for disasters.
READ: Phivolcs sees lesser chance of eruption
Aside from approving whatever amount the President requests for Cavite and Batangas, Congress has to augment the calamity fund, he said.
“We have to give the Chief Executive enough money to respond to calamities,” Romero said.
The House has expressed readiness to approve a P50-billion supplemental budget for areas affected by the Taal Volcano eruption.
House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez earlier said the chamber would give “highest priority” to the approval of the supplemental budget that was increased from the P30 billion requested by the administration to augment the government’s calamity fund for the eruption.
READ: Rody assures victims P30-billion will be made available to them
“If need be, the House leadership is even willing to increase the amount of the supplemental budget to as much as P50 billion,” he said.
The House will await the proposal of the Department of Budget and Management regarding the supplemental budget proposed by the President and vowed to support its swift passage.
“The House is committed to provide families displaced by the explosion of Taal Volcano long-term and permanent solutions to their woes,” Romualdez said.
READ: 40,000 people bear brunt of Taal eruptionREAD: Taal rumbles anew; no power, fuel in some areasREAD: Atom-bomb like blast feared
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