MANILA — Philippine Coast Guard personnel have evacuated residents from Taal Volcano Island in Batangas, as the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) warned of an increase in Taal’s seismic activities, an official said Thursday.
With the Phivolcs placing the volcano under Alert Level 1 or abnormal status, no resident is allowed to cross the lake to volcano island without permission from authorities.
“Ngayon, wala nang tao doon sa Taal Volcano (Island). Kung meron man mga mangingisda na pinapayagan, lahat ay controlled ng [Philippine] Coast Guard (PCG). May regulations na dapat nilang sundin,” newly-installed Presidential Adviser for Southern Tagalog Casimiro Ynares told ABS-CBN News.
(There are no people inside Taal Volcano Island as of now. If there were fishermen allowed there, they are controlled by the PCG. There are also regulations that they need to follow.)
“Sa ngayon, sinasabi ng ating mga kasamahan, 'yung permanent danger zone doon ay talagang hindi pwedeng papuntahan ng maski sino. Napakadelikado,” he added.
(Authorities said the permanent danger zone there cannot be accessed by anyone because it is dangerous.)
Under the said alert level, sudden steam-driven or phreatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes and minor ashfall are possible in the island, according to the agency.
“Lethal accumulations or expulsions of volcanic gas can occur and threaten areas within the Taal Volcano Island,” said Phivolcs.
But Ynares said authorities would ensure that no one would stay for extended periods on the island.
“May control ang... Meron tayong PNP (Philippine National Police), PCG na talagang 24 hours nagkakaroon ng checkpoint at mahigpit sila. Alam nilang napakadelikado ng lugar. Kailangan pag-ibayuhin ang paghihigpit.”
(The PNP and PCG are in control, and are designated there for 24 hours. There are checkpoints because they know the place is dangerous. We need to intensify our monitoring.)
Those who were preemptively evacuated from the island are currently staying in evacuation centers.
“May evacuation centers na nakahanda na talaga. Ang PCG nag-iikot na para makita nila ang sitwasyon lalo,” the official explained, noting that 18 families have been evacuated.
(There are evacuation centers prepared. The PCG is making rounds to look into the situation.)
“Mayroon tayong 3 lugar na evacuation centers sa Talisay, Batangas, sa ganun laging ready ang local officials,” he said.
(We have 3 evacuation centers in Talisay, Batangas, and the officials are always ready there.)
He also shared that local government units in the area were ready to provide assistance to affected residents, especially in a worst case scenario.
“Ang RDRRMO (Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Offices), nagkaroon ng assessment and review sa nakaraang sitwasyon para ma-update sa sitwasyon na maaaring mangyari o sa worst case scenario.”
“Nabigyang-abiso ang DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) doon sakaling kailangan ng tulong para makapaghanda ng tulong,” he said.
(The RDRRMO are currently assessing and reviewing the previous situation there. This is to be updated and to anticipate the possible worst case scenario.)
The volcano, which sits on an island surrounded by a lake in Batangas province, had a steam-driven eruption on Jan. 12, 2020, triggering an ash fall that reached parts of Metro Manila and nearby provinces and displacing about 350,000.