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TAAL UNREST | Batangas lifts lockdown on Agoncillo and Laurel towns
January 27, 2020 , 01:04 PM

JANUARY 27, 2020 – Authorities in Batangas on Monday lifted the lockdown in two towns near the erupting Taal volcano as state volcanologists have observed weaker hazardous activities in the last three days.

Local authorities, in a news briefing, said residents in Laurel and Agoncillo towns can now return home, except in six barangays within the seven kilometers danger zone of the volcano.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has kept the alert level 3 as the country’s second most active volcano continued to emit white steam-laden plumes and sulfur dioxide in the past 24 hours.

Sudden steam-driven and even weak phreatomagmatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes, ashfall, and lethal volcanic gas expulsions can occur and threaten areas near the volcano, the agency said.

Residents are still prohibited to enter Bilinbiwang, Subic Ilaya, and Banyaga in Agoncillo, and Gulod, Buso-Buso, Bugaan East in Laurel.

The Batangas government also reiterated that five barangay are on permanent lockdown, including Sitio Tabla and San Isidro in Talisay, Calawit in Balete, and Alas-as and Pulang Bato in San Nicolas.

Earlier, the local government has allowed residents of Alitagtag, Balete, Cuenca, Lemery, Lipa City, Malvar, Mataas ng Kahoy, San Nicolas, Sta. Teresita, Taal, Talisay, Tanauan City to return home.

On Sunday, the Phivolcs lowered one notch the alert level in Taal after observing reduced activities and volcanic tremor.

The volcano had been on alert level 4 for more than two weeks, displacing close to a million of residents in Batangas and Cavite due to the threat of a hazardous explosive eruption.

It also more than 3 billion pesos in agricultural damage as ashes covered farmlands, particularly cash crops like coffee.

But Phivolcs warned danger remains as an increased activity is still possible and advised residents to be never complacent. (Karen Macalalad/MM)

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