HEIGHTENED ALERT. Taal Volcano emits smoke in a screenshot of a video taken by the Philippine Coast Guard on Saturday morning (March 26, 2022). The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology raised the status of the volcano from Alert Level 2 (increasing unrest) to Alert Level 3 (magmatic unrest) due to magmatic intrusion at the main crater that may result in succeeding eruptions. (Screengrab from PCG)

MANILA – The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and its counterparts in local government units in the Calabarzon Region are closely monitoring the Taal Volcano unrest and have evacuated residents as stronger eruptions may occur.

On Saturday morning, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised the volcano status from Alert Level 2 (increasing unrest) to Alert Level 3 (magmatic unrest) due to magmatic intrusion at the main crater that may further drive succeeding eruptions.

As of 11 a.m. Saturday, there were already 160 families from Agoncillo town, comprised of 800 to 900 individuals, and 81 families or 222 individuals from the municipality of Laurel who were evacuated, according to an NDRRMC news release.

Government agencies and uniformed services are also implementing response actions to assist the affected communities.

Additional supplies of family food packs are being prepared by the provincial government and Department of Social Welfare and Development to augment the relief activities of the affected local government units, as well as vehicles to support evacuation efforts.

Residents of the affected areas are advised to remain vigilant, take precautionary measures, and follow authorities’ warnings and advisories.

Phivolcs - Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division chief, Dr. Ma. Antonia Bornas, reported that at around 7 a.m., the Taal Volcano main crater generated a short-lived phreatomagmatic burst which was followed by a nearly continuous phreatomagmatic activity that generated plumes 1,500 meters, accompanied by volcanic earthquake and infrasound signals.

Office of Civil Defense Regional Director Maria Theresa Escolano reported the regional DRRMC has been coordinating with the mayors of affected areas for situation updates, response actions such as evacuation, and resource augmentation if the volcano unrest remains.

Phivolcs identified Barangays Bilibinwang and Banyaga of Agoncillo municipality and Boso-boso, Gulod, and the eastern portion of Barangay Bugaan East of Laurel as high-risk areas. (PR)