MANILA — The alert level on Taal Volcano was lowered another notch Friday, reflecting "decreased unrest", Phivolcs said as it advised residents who returned to high risk areas to prepare for a quick evacuation if necessary.
The downgrade to Alert Level 2, the second lowest in a 5-step warning system, "should not be interpreted that unrest has ceased or that the threat of an eruption has disappeared," said the Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology.
Taal spewed ash and lava on Jan. 12 and 13, displacing tens of thousands and disrupting business in surrounding areas.
Since Jan. 26, the quakes that Taal spawned went down to daily average of 127 from 141, while subsidence or gradual sinking was also observed at Taal's caldera and the nearby Pansipit River. These indicate "cessation of magma transport" towards the volcano's crater, said Phivolcs.
Should there be "persistent downtrend" in parameters monitored, Phivolcs said it could lower the alert to Level 1.
Set in the center of a lake 60 kilometers south of the capital, Taal left some P3.4 billion worth of damage in agriculture and infrastructure following its eruption, said the disaster agency.
Taal, one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines, has erupted more than 30 times in the past 5 centuries, most recently in 1977. An eruption of Taal in 1965 killed some 200 people. With a report from Reuters