By Joenald M. Rayos
AGONCILLO, Batangas – AFTER around eight (8) months since the last eruption, the Taal Volcano Main Crater generated a short-lived phreatomagmatic burst at 7:22 in the morning, Saturday.
The earlier nearly continuous phreatomagmatic activity generated plumes that rose 3 kilometers accompanied by volcanic earthquake and infrasound signals. This means that there is magmatic intrusion at the Main Crater that may further drive succeeding eruptions.
These developments prompted the DOST-PHIVOLCS to raise the alert status of Taal Volcano from Alert Level 2 (increasing unrest) to Alert Level 3 (magmatic unrest).
PHIVOLCS thereby strongly recommends Taal Volcano Island and high-risk barangays of Bilibinwang and Banyaga, Agoncillo and Boso-boso, Gulod and eastern Bugaan East, Laurel, Batangas Province be evacuated due to the possible hazards of pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami should stronger eruptions subsequently occur.
Immediately, hundreds of individuals were immediately evacuated to several schools are evacuation centers to avoid impending hazards to their lives.
Department of Science and Technology undersecretary and Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology director Renato Solidum said that the public is reminded that the entire Taal Volcano Island is still a Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ), and entry into the island as well as high-risk barangays of Agoncillo and Laurel must be prohibited.
Communities around the Taal Lake shores are advised to remain vigilant, take precautionary measures against possible airborne ash and vog and calmly prepare for possible evacuation should unrest intensify.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CCAP) has also advise pilots to avoid flying over Taal Volcano Island as airborne ash and ballistic fragments from sudden explosions and pyroclastic density currents such as base surges may pose hazards to aircraft.|-BNN