BATANGAS CITY – The provincial government here has been conducting air quality assessment tests in towns closest to Taal Volcano amid its continuous emission of sulfur-laden volcanic smog or “vog.”
In an interview on Monday, Dr. Amor Banuelos-Calayan, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) head, said her team has tested the air in towns that were heavily enveloped by vog last week.
The team reported that a thin layer of vog still hangs over the town of Agoncillo, but was notably much less dense than in previous days.
This was gleaned after testing activities were conducted in Barangays Barigon and Banyaga, she added.
Agoncillo Mayor Cinderella Valenton Reyes earlier requested the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) to conduct the air quality test due to health concerns.
The same team also noted that the vog that had affected the towns of Alitagtag, Calatagan and Santa Teresita had mostly already dissipated as of Monday.
Air testing was also conducted in Barangay Poblacion in this capital city, but the results were unavailable as of this writing.
“The tests that we conducted are very important as this determines the level of sulfur dioxide in the air,” Banuelos-Calayan said in a message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
She explained that this assessment is important to determine whether or not the air quality in towns nearest the volcano is still safe for residents.
The data gathered will be the basis of the recommendations and actions by the provincial government and other local government units (LGUs) to address the concerns of the locals, according to the PDRRMO chief.
Meanwhile, Faye Endaya-Barretto, school principal of Cuenca Institute, said the school conducted their classes in an online set-up on Monday as a precautionary measure.
"Students and teachers who were exposed to the vog are still experiencing cough and colds so we shifted the conduct of classes online," said Endaya-Barretto, who is also a former mayor of Cuenca town.
"Our priority right now is to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty and other school employees. We have shifted to online classes to prevent the worsening of symptoms still being experienced by those exposed to vog such as coughing, itchy eyes and throats and other flu-like symptoms," she said in Filipino. (PNA)