Filipinos worry over Taal’s renewed unrest as series of quakes hit Batangas

Steam pours from Taal Volcano in January <i>Photo: George Calvelo/ABS-CBN News</i>
Steam pours from Taal Volcano in January Photo: George Calvelo/ABS-CBN News

At least 19 light earthquakes—the strongest recorded at magnitude 4.9— have hit five towns in Batangas since this morning, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) reported.

The quakes occurred in the towns of Bauan, Mabini, Lemery, Agoncillo, and San Nicolas, with the weakest quake registering at a magnitude 1.2. The series of tremors were first recorded at 10:31am in Bauan, and the latest at 2:15pm in Lemery.

Read: ‘Hazardous explosion possible’: Alert level 4 still in effect after Taal Volcano blankets Luzon towns in ash

On Twitter, netizens have expressed concern over Taal Volcano’s renewed activity, which first erupted over three months ago. The eruption displaced at least 300,000 families living in Batangas, where the volcano is located, as it blanketed nearby towns in volcanic ash. The eruption cost businesses as much as PHP6.7 billion (US$131 million) in lost incomes, on top of PHP3 billion (US$ 59 million) in agricultural damages.

In its bulletin today, PHIVOLCS said the volcano remains at Level 1, which means it is displaying abnormal activity and that minor ashfall is spewing out of it. However, this is a far cry from Alert Level 4 (indicating imminent eruption) which was raised when the volcano erupted in January. Taal’s alert level was first lowered to Level 1 in early March.

Read: Alert on Taal Volcano down to level 1

PHIVOLCS said in the same bulletin that sudden volcanic earthquakes can also occur under Alert Level 1. The state volcanologists, meanwhile, recommended “that entry into TVI [ Taal Volcano Island], Taal’s Permanent Danger Zone…especially the vicinities of the Main Crater and the Daang Kastila fissure [a popular tourist trail], must remain strictly prohibited.”

It added that it is “closely monitoring Taal Volcano’s activity and any new significant development will be immediately communicated.”

Over on Twitter, netizens like @Marso5Man have pleaded with the volcano tweeting, “Taal, please stay calm. People aren’t ready for another blast.”

 

Users like @Polabeers tried to fan off the panic by tweeting, “A friend of mine lives near taal lake and there is no eruption occurring in taal volcano. Stop spreading rumor without any concrete proof.”

And netizens like @SalazarKerby have moved for a call to action, as he tweeted, “Taal & #COVID19 only proves that Science and Research should always be a part of the priority programs of the Government.”

 

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CITY: MANILACATEGORY: NEWSSUB-CATEGORIES: ENVIRONMENT, VIRAL, WEATHER

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