JANUARY 23, 2020 – Taal volcano has showed signs of calming down in the last 24 hours, but the state volcanology and seismology on Thursday warned the possibility of a major explosive eruption is still high.
In a regular press briefing, Undersecretary Renato Solidum, head of Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, said there is a 30 percent probability basing on their monitoring parameters, opinion of experts, and historical data.
The percentage may appear low but affected residents and local government units must never be complacent.
“Mataas ‘yung 30 percent para roon sa nasa loob ng danger zone,” Solidum said.
The Phivolcs has kept the volcano under alert level 4 for more than a week due to its hazardous activities.
Solidum said they have observed the sulfur dioxide emission of Taal is erratic but the general trend is downward.
There is also fewer number of volcanic earthquakes.
“Sumatotal, makikita natin na wala masyadong pag-usok, kaunti ang gas, pero may paglindol na maririnig mo rin at ‘yung bilang ng volcanic earthquakes ay pababa, pero nandiyan ‘yung bagong magma sa ilalim ng Taal Volcano,” he said.
Seismologists are now looking at different scenarios that may happen in the country’s second most active volcano, which already displaced nearly one million residents and destroyed 3 billion -peso worth of crops and fisheries in southern Luzon.
“Pwede siyang tumuloy, magkaroon ng pagsabog na malakas—delikado sa mga tao. Pwede rin siyang tumigil na at sana ganoon na, hindi na masyadong problema,” Solidum said.
“Pero sa history ng Taal Volcano, ulitin ko lang, hindi pa rin nagtatapos ‘yung kaniyang istorya kasi minsan may mga pagitan ng buwan o taon ang pagitan ng mga eruption, lalung lalo na, nandito na ‘yung magma na nag-resupply,” he added.
In its 1754 eruption, it took more than six months for Taal volcano to quiet down after an explosive eruption.
Several towns in Batangas were affected and relocated during the volcanic event. One of the towns is the now the city of Tanauan, which was relocated around 40 kilometers eastward, leading to the creation of a new town named Talisay in its abandoned site.
Total evacuation is still in effect within the 14-kilometer radius danger zone from the main crater. The CALABARZON police appealed to remaining residents to seek temporary shelters as they will be withdrawing their forces stationed six to 10 kilometers away from the volcano.
Authorities have set up road blocks to enforce a lockdown of 12 towns around the second most active volcano in the country. (Karen Macalalad/MM)
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