Solon eyes probe into eruption warning lapse

A VETERAN solon called for a congressional inquiry into the failure of some government agencies to give early warning to people living near Taal volcano.

Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, chairman of the House committee on Environment and Natural Resources, filed House Bill 643 which urges the appropriate committee to conduct an investigation in order to improve preparations for calamities.

Barzaga noted reports that the Philippine Institute of Volcanology (Phivolcs) as early as March 1, 2019 had raised Level 1 warning over Taal.

However, Barzaga said there is clearly a lack of dissemination of information on the hazards of Taal volcano’s activity to the general public, particularly to residents of nearby cities and municipalities of Cavite and Laguna.

“Filipinos were taken by surprise by the recent Taal Volcano eruption wherein the losses in terms of life and property are still unaccounted for,” Barzaga said.

Barzaga said Phivolcs has a duty to assess and communicate timely information about volcanic hazards and make real time warnings of volcanic activity in order to prevent loss of life and property.

The House leader also wanted Phivolcs, other government agencies and even the local government units (LGUs) to explain why there is already a permanent settlement on Taal Volcano island when it is categorized as a permanent danger zone.

“There is a need to have a proactive and not defense response from the Phivolcs, concerned government agencies and LGUs wit regard to their actions or inaction to the recent Taal Volcano eruption,” the president of the National Unity Party (NUP) said.