Cebu News

5 Cebu LGUs on alert following Kanlaon eruption

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Five local government units in western Cebu that face Negros Island are on alert status following the ash eruption of the Canlaon Volcano Tuesday night.

These include Tabuelan, Tuburan, Asturias, Balamban, Pinamungajan, Aloguinsan, and Toledo City.

 Julius Regner, spokesperson of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), said municipal/city disaster risk reduction offices in these LGUs are on the ready in case a major eruption occurs.

 "Whatever unsa mahitabo, at least ready ta. Dili pa kuyaw pero kinahanglan mangandam ta," he said.

 As of yesterday, no evidence of smoke was seen over the province's midwest, Regner said.

 Asturias Mayor Allan Adlawan also said, "wala man. clear kaayo diri sa lungsod."

 Regner said exposure to ash spewed by the volcano poses health hazard. He advised the elderly and children and those with respiratory and cardiovascular diseases to stay indoors with good ventilation.

Also, they are advised to take precautionary measures, like wearing of protective masks or covering their nose and mouth with towel especially when going outside the house.

 He, however, said the ash plume drifts with the winds towards northeast, away from the parallel towns in Cebu.

 Kanlaon Volcano has been one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines, according to Phivolcs.

Keep safe

Yesterday, Phivolcs reiterated its call to the public not to enter the four-kilometer radius Permanent Danger Zone.

Phivolcs also reminded the pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano's summit due to the possibilities of sudden and hazardous steam-driven or phreatic eruptions.

 Benjamin Tantan, Phivolcs science research analyst based in Canlaon City, clarified no lava flow effused from the summit crater, as it was earlier reported on social media, rather "it was lightning flashes, which was the result of the friction of emitted rocks and pre-existing volcanic materials" at the crater.

 He added that "it was mistaken as lava flow but it was not connected (with the eruption) and it was just a coincidence." There was a spark because of the pressure, he added.

 He also said the ejected hot rocks from the crater did not set a bush fire at the southwest portion of the volcano, which is already part of Barangay Biak na Bato in La Castellana, Negros Occidental.

 About 120 hectares of grassland of Mount Kanlaon Natural Park in Negros Occidental were destroyed by fire, which broke out on Good Friday and lasted until Easter Sunday, an official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), had said.

 DENR-18 Regional Director Al Orolfo said the three-day fire, which affected the side of Mt. Kanlaon in Canlaon City, Negros Oriental, is estimated to have started on Friday, and was put under control Sunday afternoon with the efforts of the Kanlaon Green Brigade.

 Tantan said, "It (fire) was man-made. It's possible that there were illegal mountaineers who set the grass on fire."

 There was a commotion from the residents after the volcano erupted, but they remained calm afterwards, he added.

 Superintendent Frankie Lugo, chief of Canlaon City Police Station, said there was no evacuation of residents living near the danger zone, but the task groups, which are components of the Mount Kanlaon contingency plan, were activated for security, evacuation, and medical response.

 Mt. Kanlaon, which straddles Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental, spewed ashes as high as 1.5 kilometer Tuesday night at about 6:20 p.m., Phivolcs said.

 The ash eruption from the crater lasted 12 minutes and was accompanied by a "booming sound" that was heard in Barangays Ara-al and Yubo in La Carlota City, Negros Occidental, and in Barangay Pula, Canlaon City in Negros Oriental, Phivolcs added.

 One of the 21 active volcanoes in the country, Kanlaon last erupted in November last year, and has been placed on Alert Level 1 since.

 Alert Level 1 means it is at an abnormal condition and is in a period of current unrest. —  (FREEMAN)

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