Devastation of Taal Volcano eruption seen at Agoncillo in Batangas last Jan. 27, 2020.
The STAR/Michael Varcas
Agoncillo and Laurel towns lift lockdown as Taal retains reduced alert status
Arnell Ozaeta ( - January 27, 2020 - 4:51pm

BATANGAS — Batangas Gov. Hermilando Mandanas lifted the lockdown in the towns of Agoncillo and Laurel, the two remaining areas where the order remains hoisted, after Phivolcs lowered Taal Volcano's alert status from 4 to 3.

In his Bulletin Number 4, residents of the two towns were given an option to enter, except for those living in the six barangays within the seven-kilometer radius danger zone. These are Barangays Bilibinwang, Subi Ilaya and Banyaga in Agoncillo and Barangays Gulod, Buso-buso and Bigaan East in Laurel. 

Mandanas on Sunday re-opened the lockdown areas in 12 municipalities and cities that were hardest hit by volcanic ashfall. 

Agoncillo Mayor Daniel Reyes, in a phone interview Monday, said his constituents immediately started cleaning their houses and fed their animals as soon as we open the roads. 

Reyes, however, said that most of his constituents decided to stay in evacuation areas as they have no other place where they could seek refuge. 

"Maraming bahay ang nasira dahil sa binagsak na abo, marami ring kalsada ang natabunan kaya kailangan namin ng tulong ng DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) at ng probinsya" Reyes said.

Reyes said he told Agoncillo residents to send the men or heads of the families first to clean up their homes before sending the elders and children who were more vulnerable to respiratory illnesses. 

Asked for his comment on the proposal to permanently lockdown areas within the 14-km radius danger zone, which includes Agoncillo, he said this might not be received well by his constituents.

"Hindi naman siguro makakapayag ang aking mga constituents, mahal nila ang aming lugar, dito narin ang kanilang hanap-buhay, siguro naman aabutin pa uli ng 50 years bago uli pumutok ang bulkan" Reyes said.

He added that electricity and water supply have been partially restored. The town mayor also said that he gave window hours to residents of the three barangays within the seven-kilometer radius danger zone so they could feed their animals and visit their houses. 

In Laurel, the local government also allowed residents to return to their homes except for those living within the seven kilometer-radius hazard zone. 

The Taal Volcano Island, consisting of five barangays namely Sitio Tabla and Barangay San Isidro of Talisay; Barangay Calawit of Balete; and Barangay Alas-as and Barangay Pulang Bato in San Nicolas remains off-limits.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: February 27, 2020 - 9:35am

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

February 27, 2020 - 9:35am

Philvolcs says in its 8 a.m. bulletin that Taal Volcano’s main crater emitted steam-laden plumes that are 300 meters high between 9pm February 26 to 3am of February 27.

Taal Volcano remains at Alert Level 2.

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.

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