Taal Volcano recently had a phreatomagmatic eruption and remained restive days after. This is how two barangays in Agoncillo, Batangas ended up being declared “no man’s land”. According to Agoncillo’s Mayor Daniel Reyes, a combined 1,300 families from barangays Banyaga and Bilibinwang were evacuated upon orders of the Office of Civil Defense and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Mayor Reyes posted a video message on Facebook and declared that “there should be no one left in the two barangays”. He had initially resisted the evacuation order, but relented after considering resident safety. He also took Agoncillo’s zero-casualty record from the January 2020 eruption into account.
Following the eruption last July 1, alert level 3 was raised by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) over Taal Volcano. It means that there is magma at the volcano’s surface, or at the very least near it.
That activity could result in “hazardous eruption in weeks”, according to Phivolcs’ website. It is halfway on the alert level scale, with No. 5 meaning “hazardous eruption in progress”.
Reyes pointed out that there were residents asking to be allowed to go back to their barangays, but only for some hours per day. They wanted to be able to attend to their fish cages as well as look after their belongings. He said that this required approval from the concerned national government agencies.
According to Phivolcs, “Communities around Taal Lake shores are advised to remain vigilant, take precautionary measures against possible airborne ash and fog, and calmly prepare for possible evacuation should unrest intensify.”
Photo: GMA Network