MANILA (UPDATED) — The Taal Volcano in Batangas on Saturday continued to show active upwelling of hot volcanic fluid at its main crater that generated plumes as high as 100 meters, Phivolcs said, as evacuation continued in the danger zone.
Phivolcs chief Undersecretary Renato Solidum Jr. said they cannot tell how long this kind of activity would persist on Taal.
“Merong konting mga explosions kahapon mga 100 metro ang taas na sumunod naman ito sa doon sa Huwebes ng gabi na apat na 200 meters ang taas," Solidum said.
(There were still some explosions yesterday around 100 meters high that followed the 4 events with emissions 200 meters high last Thursday.)
In its 24-hour monitoring, Phivolcs said it reported 3 short phreatomagmatic explosions, 48 volcanic earthquakes, and emission of sulfur dioxide measured at 10,254 tons.
“Hindi naman ganun ka-sustained ang activity ng Taal pero kapansin-pansin maraming gas na inilalabas at usok so kailangang pag-ingatan ito kasi nandyan pa rin ang chance na magkaroon ng explosive eruption na makakakitil ng buhay kung merong mga taong malapit sa volcano island,” said Solidum in an interview on TeleRadyo.
(Taal’s activity is not sustained but it can be noted that it continues to emit gas and smoke that we should still monitor because an explosive eruption that can cause death is still a possibility.)
Solidum explained these parameters indicate that the volcano is not yet calm.
Solidum said that since the magma in the shallower portion of the volcano has degassed, they do not expect it to cause a strong explosion as last year.
However, they need to monitor if there is new magma coming from the deeper portion of the volcano and carrying more gas which could cause a possible explosive eruption.
On Thursday, Taal volcano had a "short-lived dark phreatomagmatic plume" that rose a kilometer into the air, prompting Phivolcs to raise its alert level to 3 and authorities to evacuate residents in the danger zone.
That was followed by 4 "short phreatomagmatic bursts" that produced 200-meter-high plumes above the main crater lake, Phivolcs said in a later update.
Taal's last eruption in January 2020 shot ash 15 kilometers high and spewed red-hot lava, crushing scores of homes, killing livestock and sending over 135,000 people into shelters.
POLICE ON HAND TO HELP
Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police said on Saturday that a total of 396 families or 1,736 individuals are currently staying in nine evacuation centers in Batangas province. Six evacuation centers are located in Laurel, 2 are in Agoncillo and 1 is in Balete.
“Nauunawaan namin ang hirap ng sitwasyon ng ating mga kababayan na napilitang lumikas sa panahon pa naman mismo ng pandemya. Pero kailangan nating mag-ingat at makakaasa kayo na ang inyong PNP ay tutugon sa mga pagkakataong ito,” said PNP chief Police Gen. Guillermo Eleazar.
(We understand the situation of our people who had to evacuate in this time of a pandemic. But we need to be careful and you can count on us, the PNP, to respond to your needs.)
Eleazar said he already directed the commander of the Joint Task Force COVID Shield and the regional director of the Police Regional Office 4A to set up police assistance desks in all evacuation centers in Batangas.
Eleazar said the PNP also deployed 24 personnel in evacuation areas. Other personnel were also deployed to conduct patrol and ensure security, law and order, and COVID-19 protocols are observed.
“Kasama dito ang pag-designate ng COVID-19 protocol officer na makipagtulungan sa local health office at LGU (local government unit) upang hangga't maari ay matiyak na napapatupad ang minimum public health safety protocols sa mga evacuation centers,” said Eleazar.
(This includes designating a COVID-19 protocol officer who will coordinate with local health officers and LGU to ensure that minimum public health and safety protocols are observed in evacuation centers.)