PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief, General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar on Thursday placed the Calabarzon police force on alert in case there’s a need to evacuate residents near and in the surrounding areas of Taal Volcano which continues to emit sulfur dioxide.
The top cop said concerned offices and units of the Police Regional Office 4-A headed by Brigadier Gen. Eliseo DC Cruz should start coordinating with local government units to find out if there are residents in need of assistance due to the volcano’s continuing state of unrest.
He also ordered the Calabarzon police specifically the Batangas Police Provincial Office headed by Colonel Glicerio Cancilao to monitor developments on the volcano’s activity.
“Ngayon pa lamang po ay simulan na natin ang pakikipagcoordinate sa mga lokal na opisyal para agad tayong makapagbigay ng tulong sa mga residenteng apektado nitong kasalukuyang activity ng bulkan,” Gen. Eleazar said.
“Mas maganda po na tayo’y maging alerto at handa para matiyak ang kaligtasan ng bawat isa,” he added.
Alert Level 2 is hoisted over Taal Volcano. According to PHIVOLCS, steam-driven or gas explosion or gas accumulation may occur under this level. PHIVOLCS also said the entire Taal Volcano Island should be off-limits.
“Sisiguraduhin po nating walang makalalapit sa nasabing isla,” Gen. Eleazar said amid the government warning.
In January 2020, the police raised its security status on some areas in Calabarzon, especially in Batangas following Taal Volcano’s phreatic eruption.
THE Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology yesterday said Taal Volcano continues to release volcanic smog that has reached Calabarzon, Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon.
In its latest bulletin, Phivolcs said the vog spread to Tanauan City and Talisay municipality in Batangas, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, Bulacan and has reached Metro Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan and Zambales.
Phivolcs initially announced on Tuesday that the haze observed in Metro Manila was from pollution caused by human activities.
In a statement at 6:30 a.m. yesterday, it confirmed that the haze over the National Capital Region is sulfur dioxide.
Sulfur dioxide plumes were detected from Taal Volcano on Monday.
The information came from NASA’s Ozone Mapping Instrument on the Aura platform and Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite on the Suomi National Polar-Orbiting Partnership Satellite.
According to Phivolcs, a one-kilometer warm layer of air is preventing cooler air near the ground to rise, trapping pollutants and driving the accumulation of smog over the region that might dissipate within 24 to 48-hours.
Phivolcs OIC Renato Solidum advised affected residents to stay indoors if you don’t need to go outside.
He urged residents, particularly those staying around Taal Lake, to wear N-95 masks and close windows and doors to block pollutants.
The volcanic smog he said can cause throat irritation and difficulty in breathing.
Solidum said the possibility of a steam-driven explosion is still possible in Taal, which recorded six volcanic quakes in the last 24 hours, and continuously releases volcanic smog.
Taal Volcano remains under alert level 2.