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Taal Volcano erupts anew, gov’t reinforces response actions

QUEZON CITY -- The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and its counterparts from regional down to local government units in Calabarzon are closely monitoring the situation and implementing precautionary measures in various areas in the region after a phreatomagmatic burst in Taal Volcano and raising of Alert Level 3 this Saturday morning.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) earlier today issued a notice raising the alert status of Taal from Alert Level 2 (increasing unrest) to Alert Level 3 (magmatic unrest).

To discuss the situation and government response in the affected areas following the Taal volcano eruption, the NDRRMC held an emergency meeting this morning.

PHIVOLCS - Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division (VMEPD) Chief, Dr. Ma. Antonia Bornas reported that at around 7:00 AM today, the Taal Volcano main crater generated a short-lived phreatomagmatic burst which was followed by nearly continuous phreatomagmatic activity that generated plumes 1500 meters accompanied by volcanic earthquake and infrasound signals.

Calabarzon Regional DRRMC Chairperson and OCD Regional Director Maria Theresa Escolano presented situation updates, the Department of the Interior and Local Government updates on the preparedness actions of LGUs in accordance with the Operation Listo Manual for Taal Volcano Eruption, and the triggers on the activation of regional contingency plan.

Dir. Escolano also reported that the RDRRMC has been coordinating with the mayors of affected areas for situation updates, response actions such as evacuation of communities situated in Taal Volcano island and high-risk barangays and resource augmentation if the volcano unrest remains.

PHIVOLCS identified Brgys Bilibinwang and Banyaga of Agoncillo Municipality and Brgys Boso-boso, Gulod and the eastern portion of Brgy Bugaan East of Laurel Municipality as high-risk areas. All activities on Taal Lake are also not allowed at this time.

Evacuation of communities meanwhile are now being conducted due to possible pyroclastic density currents and volcanic seiches should stronger eruptions subsequently occur.

As of 11:00AM today, there were already 160 families or 800 to 900 individuals in Agoncillo and 81 families or 222 individuals in Laurel were evacuated.

Various government agencies and uniformed services are also implementing response actions to assist the affected communities. Additional supplies of family food packs are being prepared by the provincial government and Department of Social Welfare and Development to augment the relief activities of the affected LGUs as well as vehicles to support the evacuation effort.

Residents of the affected areas are advised to remain vigilant, take precautionary measures, and follow authorities’ warnings and advisories. (OCD)

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Kate Shiene Austria

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Information Officer III under the Office of the Deputy Director-General-Digital Development Communications Unit of Philippine Information Agency. 

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