Six Cebu towns told to stay alert

(The Freeman) - November 24, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Capitol yesterday instructed six towns told to stay vigilant in case a major eruption occurs in Mount Kanlaon in Negros Oriental.

"We are not creating panic among the people, we just want them to be on alert and monitor developments," said Baltazar Tribunalo, chief of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office.

The wind currently blows from the southwest direction and would spare Cebu from ash falls.

But Tribunalo said Asturias, Balamban, Toledo City, Pinamungajan, Aloguinsan, and Barili were sent warnings yesterday as these western towns are located parallel to Mount Kanlaon, which is at the central mountains of Negros island.

At 6:55 a.m. yesterday, Alert Level 1 was hoisted by the Philippine Volcanology and Seismology Services (Phivolcs) after recording a "steam explosion" from Kanlaon's summit crater at 9:55 p.m. the other day.

"Continuous emission of steam with minor ash from the summit crater has been observed this morning, while previously there was none," stated Phivolcs-Central Visayas’ report sent to the Cebu PDRRMO.

The alert level status means that no one is allowed within a four-kilometer permanent danger zone around the volcano. Civil aviation authorities were also advised to remind pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano’s summit.

Tribunalo said they were coordinating with Phivolcs for the latest reports the volcanic activity in Kanlaon. They were likewise monitoring the winds prevailing over Cebu through the state weather bureau based in Lapu-Lapu City.

The PDRRMO chief said that even if a major eruption occurs in Negros, there will be enough time for the six Cebu towns to evacuate away from ash falls considering that the volcano is located several kilometers away.

Meanwhile, mild tremors shook parts of Cebu Province yesterday afternoon, with Phivolcs recording a magnitude 3.4 at 4:36 p.m. The epicenter was traced to eight kilometers southeast of Inabanga town in Bohol.

In its website, Phivolcs said the quake, which was tectonic in origin, was felt as intensity four in Talibon, Bohol, intensity two in Cebu City, and intensity one in Lapu-Lapu City.

Phivolcs Visayas Chief Geologist Robinson Giorgio said the mild tremor was somehow related to the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that jolted Cebu and Bohol on October 15, 2013.

He dismissed the idea that the quake was caused by the Kanlaon volcano acting up.

“Ang quake dili tungod sa Kanlaon. Layo ra kaayo kay tectonic man ang origin sa quake,” he said.

The Phivolcs Earthquake Intensity Scale categorized Intensity 2 as “slightly felt” especially by those indoors, with hanging objects swinging and still water in containers moving. –/RHM (FREEMAN)

ACIRC ALERT LEVEL BALTAZAR TRIBUNALO BOHOL BUT TRIBUNALO CEBU CEBU AND BOHOL KANLAON LAPU-LAPU CITY MOUNT KANLAON PHIVOLCS
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