The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has urged provinces in the MIMAROPA Region to take precautionary measures against possible ash falls due to the phreatic eruption of Taal Volcano.
DILG regional director Wilhelm Suyko issued a memorandum on January 13, calling the attention of the provincial directors of Marinduque, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Palawan, Romblon, and the city director of Puerto Princesa, to disseminate the information stated in Memorandum No. 005, Series of 2020, on what to do to be safe from the ash fall’s ill effects.
The memorandum, said the DILG order obtained by Palawan News, was released by the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC) and the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) under the leadership of director Ruben Carandang.
“In order to better inform or warn the communities, you are hereby directed to disseminate this in your respective areas of jurisdiction via local media or community radio stations,” the DILG order stated.
DILG Palawan director Rey Maranan said Wednesday in an interview with Palawan News that his office received the order on January 14 and his senior personnel and staff have already disseminated it to the municipalities and other concerned agencies.
“What the DILG wants is to communicate the information from the OCD sa mga LGUs as precautionary measures. Upon receipt of that directive ay ang ating senior staff dito ang ginawa ay nakipag-communicate na sa mga LGUs at sa ating mga media agencies para makatulong sa info sharing,” Maranan said.
According to the memorandum, the public must be informed that exposure to falling ash may cause nose and throat irritation, coughing, bronchitis-like illness, discomfort while breathing, eye irritation, minor skin problems, injuries, and death due to roof collapse and vehicular accident resulting from slippery roads and poor visibility.
To cope with the ashfall, the order advises the public to minimize their exposure to the ash, stay indoors as much as possible, keep doors and windows closed, keep home with infiltration by using damp curtains, blankets or clothing, use dust masks (N95), wear goggles or eyeglasses to protect eyes from irritation, keep pets in closed shelter, clear roofs of ash, and observe traffic notifications and road safety measures.
On Tuesday, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) Puerto Princesa Seismic Station officer-in-charge Engr. Robert Esplida said they have received reports about ashfalls in Coron in the Calamianes Group of Islands, but they are still verifying them.
“May mga reported kami kasi nag-iiba ‘yong direksyon ng hangin siguro kapag dito pa-south ‘yong hangin. May reported kami pero unverified pa naman na mukhang sa Coron nakaramdam,” Esplida said.
“By the way sa Mindoro mukhang wala naman which is mas malapit nga ito. Siguro ano lang ng hangin, pero dito sa mainland ay wala pa naman reported,” he added.
Esplida said as far as they are concerned, the province was not affected by Sunday’s volcanic ash.
“Continuous pa rin kasi na mino-monitor ‘yong activities ng Taal kasi continuous ‘yong pagbuga ng volcanic ash. Tinitingnan namin kung talagang magpro-progress ‘yong activity niya. But, so far, sa Palawan hindi pa naman apektado with regards sa volcanic ash,” he said.
In a January 15 bulletin, PHIVOLCS said Taal Volcano’s activity has been characterized “by a continuous but generally weaker eruption of the main crater due to magmatic and hydrovolcanic processes”.
Alert Level 4 still remains in effect over the area, which means a hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days.