Mask-clad residents ride in a jeepney as they evacuate their homes in Laurel town, Batangas province south of Manila on Jan. 15, 2020. Philippine authorities were struggling January 15 to keep thousands of evacuees from returning to homes in areas threatened by a feared massive eruption of Taal volcano.
Ted Aljibe/AFP
4 Batangas towns placed on lockdown due to Taal unrest
Arnell Ozaeta ( - January 15, 2020 - 9:27pm

BATANGAS — The Department of the Interior and Local Government in Calabarzon issued Wednesday a memorandum advising concerned LGUs to conduct a mandatory evacuation in all barangays susceptible to ballistic projectiles, base surges and volcanic tsunami as a result of the eruption of Taal volcano. 

A total of 12 municipalities and two cities were named in the document signed by DILG Calabarzon OIC Provincial Director Abigail Andres. 

These are the towns of Agoncillo, Alitagtag, Balete, Cuenca, Laurel, Lemery, Malvar, Mataasnakahoy, San Nicolas, Sta. Teresita, Taal and Talisay. Also included were the cities of Lipa and Tanauan. 

Of the 14, four towns are now implementing a total lockdown as confirmed by Ssgt. Armstrong De Castro of the Regional Incident Management Team namely Taal, Agoncillo, Talisay and Laurel. These towns have a total combined population of almost 200,000 individuals. 

Philippine National Police Batangas Provincial Director Edwin Quilates said they are implementing the lockdown to keep people away from danger.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: February 15, 2020 - 4:32pm

Get updates as Phivolcs issues warnings over Taal Volcano's unrest. (Main photo by Adel)

February 15, 2020 - 4:32pm

Police say they are still waiting for the Scene of the Crime Operatives for confirmation of the victim's identity, whose body was found dead underneath mud on Taal volcano Island.

February 14, 2020 - 9:29am

Phivolcs downgrades the alert status of Taal Volcano from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2.

The state seismic network characterized the activity of the volcano in the last three weeks by "less frequent volcanic earthquake activity, stabilizing ground deformation of the Taal Caldera and Taal Volcano Island edifices and weak steam/gas emissions" at the main crater.

Under Alert Level 2, Phivolcs warned that sudden steam-driven or phreatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes, ashfall and lethal accumulations or expulsions of volcanic gas can occur and threaten areas within the volcano island.

"People are also advised to observe precautions due to ground displacement across fissures, frequent ashfall, and minor earthquakes," Phivolcs said.

February 8, 2020 - 10:15am

Alert Level 3 is still up over Taal Volcano, state volcanologists say.

According to the 8 a.m. bulletin Saturday, the volcano emitted white to dirty white steam-laden plumes rising 200 to 300m high before drifting southwest in the past 24 hours.

"Weak steaming from fissure vents along the Daang Kastila trail is currently ongoing. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission was measured at an average of 54 tonnes/day on February 7, 2020," Phivolcs says. 

"The Taal Volcano Network recorded one hundred fifteen (115) volcanic earthquakes including three (3) low-frequency events. These earthquakes signify magmatic activity beneath the Taal edifice that could lead to eruptive activity at the Main Crater," it adds.

February 7, 2020 - 8:36am

Alert Level 3 is still raised over Taal Volcano as its latest activity signify possible eruptive activity at the main crater.

In the last 24 hours, Phivolcs observed moderate emission of white to dirty white steam-laden plumes rising 200 to 300 meters high before drifting southwest.

The state seismic network also observed weak steamong from fissure vents along the Daang Kastila trail.

At least 118 volcanic earthquakes, including five low-frequency events and one harmonic tremor that lasted three minutes were recorded.

"DOST-PHIVOLCS reminds the public that sudden steam-driven and even weak phreatomagmatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes, ashfall, and lethal volcanic gas expulsions can still occur and threaten areas within Taal Volcano Island and nearby lakeshores," Phivolcs said in its 8 a.m. bulletin for February 7.

February 5, 2020 - 11:07am

Alert Level 3 remains in effect over Taal Volcano as it continues to release steam-laden plumes, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology says.

In a bulletin issued 8 a.m. Wednesday, Phivolcs says the activity in the main crater in the past 24 hours has been characterized by weak emission of steam-laden plumes that are 50 to 100 meters high, drifting southwest.

Sulfur dioxide emission was measured at an average of 55 tons a day on Tuesday.

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