THE Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs ) yesterday lowered TaalVolcano’s alert status to level 2, which indicated its decreased tendency towards hazardous eruption.
However, Phivolcs clarified that the lowering of Taal’s alert level should not be interpreted that unrest has ceased or the threat of eruption has passed.
"After step-down to Alert Level 3 last January 26, Taal Volcano’s condition in the succeeding three weeks has been characterized by less frequent volcanic earthquake activity, stabilizing ground deformation of the Taal Caldera and Taal Volcano Island edifices and weak steam or gas emissions at the main crater," Phivolcs said in a bulletin.
Meanwhile, Phivolcs reminded all residents in areas within the declared permanent danger zone to be always on alert and prepared for a quick and organized evacuation if the volcano’s activities will suddenly change.
However, Phivolcs advised that the Taal Volcano Island -- a permanent danger zone -- shall remain off-limits.
In line with this, the provincial government of Batangas announced that all residents of towns under lockdown, except some towns in Agoncillo and Laurel, have the option to return to their homes.
In the advisory issued by the provincial government, they reminded all residents in lockdown municipalities to be constantly on alert and vigilant and ready to evacuate since there is still the possibility of eruption.
An update ussued by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) showed that during Taal’s two -week phreatic eruption, some 376,327 people or 98,187 families were affected.
Of the number, 135,365 people or 37,203 families are staying in 497 evacuation centers, while 168,569 persons or 43, 824 families took shelter with their relatives.