Residents near Taal Volcano seek safe grounds following unrest

Dennis Datu and Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 26 2022 12:15 PM | Updated as of Mar 26 2022 04:14 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - Residents of some villages in Agoncillo town in Batangas have evacuated following Taal Volcano's unrest on Saturday morning, as some areas close to the volcano experience what appears to be ash fall.

Residents from Barangays Banyaga and Bilibinwang, which are located near Taal Volcano Island, fled to the town proper through vehicles, ABS-CBN's Dennis Datu reported.

"Sa mga sumandaling ito ay umuulan ng buhangin sa may Barangay Banyaga. Parang ito yung nangyari nung Jan. 12 (2020) na may mga ash fall na nangyari mula dun sa Bulkang Taal," Datu said while reporting from Batangas.

The local government unit also assisted town folk who were seeking safe grounds to the poblacion, while some went straight to their relatives, he said.

Initial information provided by the Agoncillo local government to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council indicated that 160 families or at least 800 individuals had been evacuated.

Five schools and one covered court are being used as temporary shelters there, the NDRRMC said.

Some people in Laurel town, meanwhile, have also started evacuating, particularly from three barangays located near Taal Volcano, Datu said in his report.

The NDRRMC said ongoing evacuation activities were being conducted in Barangays Gulod, Boso-boso and the easter portion of Bugaan East in Laurel town.

Around 81 families or more than 200 people have fled the town, the disaster response agency said. 

The DSWD, the agency noted, will distribute food packs to help the LGUs in their response. 

"Residents of the affected areas are advised to remain vigilant, take precautionary measures, and follow authorities’ warnings and advisories," the NDRRMC said in a statement. 

"Various government agencies and uniformed services are also implementing response actions to assist the affected communities." 

CAMPAIGN SORTIE

In San Nicolas town, presidential candidate Isko Moreno Domagoso cut short his team's sortie after expressing gratitude to people who showed up at the municipal gymnasium.

Domagoso and his Aksyon Demokratiko slate are in town to continue their campaign rally after attending a major event in Lipa on Friday night.

"Maraming salamat. Bagama't may panganib na naghihintay o pangamba sa inyong damdamin, nandiyan pa rin kayo. Mukhang battle-tested na kayo," Domagoso told the crowd.

He then asked the local residents to go home.

"Mas gusto ko na umuwi na lang kayo at puntahan niyo ang mga pamilya ninyo. Ang pangangampanya ko, pwede naman ako mangampanya sa ibang araw. Pero ang kagamitan at mahal sa buhay na ipaghanda, mas mahalaga sa akin ‘yon."

Sen. Manny Pacquiao, another presidential aspirant, asked for prayers for the safety of people living near Taal Volcano.

"Tayo ay manalangin na nawa’y muling humupa ang mga pagbuga ng makapal ng usok at hindi na ito hahantong sa mapinsalang pagsabog," he said in a statement.

While he expressed confidence that the government is prepared to address the situation, he appealed to affected communities to cooperate for their safety.

"Me and my team are closely monitoring the situation and are ready to mobilize support if needed," Pacquiao said.

Labor leader Ka Leody De Guzman also reminded residents near the volcano to take care and abide by the advisories of authorities.

State seismologists earlier in the day raised the volcano to Alert Level 3, after its main crater "generated a short-lived phreatomagmatic burst," with plumes reaching more than a thousand meters.

A phreatomagmatic burst is a result of new magma and water interacting. 

- with report from Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

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