MANILA -- The entire Batangas declared a state of calamity on Monday after Taal Volcano shrouded the province and nearby areas with ash, forced the cancellation of classes and sent thousands to evacuation centers, an official said Monday.
Batangas Vice Governor Mark Leviste said the provincial council approved the declaration that would allow the local government to tap emergency funds and freeze prices of basic goods.
State seismology institute Phivolcs earlier raised the danger level posed by the volcano to 4 out of a possible 5 - meaning "hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days."
The Philippines lies on the "Ring of Fire," a belt of volcanoes circling the Pacific Ocean that is also prone to earthquakes.
One of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines, Taal has erupted more than 30 times in the past 5 centuries, most recently in 1977. An eruption in 1911 killed 1,500 people and one in 1754 lasted for a few months.
With reports from Dennis Datu, ABS-CBN News; Reuters