On January 16, 2020, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Region IV CALABARZON in coordination with the Montalban Aggregate Producers Association (MAPA) and Eastern Rizal Miners’ Association (ERMA) provided relief goods to those affected by the recent eruption of the Taal volcano. The goods from MAPA and MGB CALABARZON were delivered to Sto. Tomas, Batangas while those from ERMA were delivered to the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) of Batangas for distribution to the 12 municipalities and two cities within the volcano’s 10-kilometer radius under mandatory evacuation.

The Taal volcano eruption began on January 12, 2020. It was a phreatic eruption from the main crater, spewing ashes not only over the region of CALABARZON, but also Metro Manila and Central Luzon. This affected the air quality of the said regions causing the suspension of classes, some government work and even flights. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvolcs) immediately issued an Alert Level 4 or RED alert status, which means that a hazardous explosive eruption is still possible within hours to days.

The air quality in Metro Manila has since returned to normal, but some areas in CALABARZON especially those nearest to the Taal volcano are still blanketed in ash. In addition, Philovolcs has recorded 466 volcanic earthquakes, of which 156 of these were felt, since January 12 up to January 15, 2020. Though a larger eruption is unlikely to occur, the residents of the critical areas namely Agoncillo, Balete, Cuenca, San Nicholas and Talisay with a combined population of approximately 161,427 were strongly advised not to return to their homes. It is still expected that the eruptions could continue for up to three months, and impact the provinces of Batangas, Cavite, and Laguna, and nearby regions including Metro Manila.

Photos 1. Boxes of relief goods provided by MAPA and MGB CALABARZON given to affected residents in Sto. Tomas, Batangas.
Photos 2. Regional Director Samuel T. Paragas joins the relief operations together with MGB CALABARZON employees and ERMA in the Batangas province.

by : Engr. Patrizia S. Benedicto                                  |          28 January 2020