MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday has placed all of its units in the Calabarzon region on alert to assist in the possible evacuation of residents near and in the surrounding areas of Taal Volcano which continues to emit sulfur dioxide (SO2).
In a statement, PNP chief, Gen. Guillermo Eleazar directed police offices and units to 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.
SO2 is a colorless gas with a pungent odor and can irritate the eyes, throat, and respiratory tract in severity, depending on the gas concentrations and durations of exposure.
Eleazar also noted that the local police offices should also monitor developments on the volcano’s activity aside from coordinating with local government unit officials to give assistance to affected residents.
“Mas maganda po na tayo’y maging alerto at handa para matiyak ang kaligtasan ng bawat isa (We should be on alert to ensure the safety of all),” he added.
Alert Level 2 is hoisted over Taal Volcano.
According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), steam-driven or gas explosion or gas accumulation may occur under this level.
On Wednesday, Phivolcs, citing open satellite data information for volcanic SO2, said plumes have actually spread over Batangas, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan, Zambales, and the National Capital Region.
Phivolcs also said the entire Taal Volcano Island should be off-limits.
“Sisiguraduhin po nating walang makalalapit sa nasabing isla (we will ensure that no one will get near the island),” the PNP chief said.
In January 2020, the police raised its security status on some areas in Calabarzon, especially in Batangas, following Taal Volcano’s phreatic eruption. (with Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)