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OCD alerts public vs fake news on Mt. Pinatubo status

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga- Different social media platforms have been circulating false information on the alert level of Mount Pinatubo enough to cause panic and anxiety to the public.

With this, Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Regional Information Officer Francesca Quizon clarified that the Alert Level 1 raised over Mount Pinatubo since March 4 equates to low level unrest and that no imminent eruption is foreseen.

We remind the public especially in Central Luzon that when it comes to the status of Mount Pinatubo and other disasters, please like and follow only the official social media pages or websites of our warning agencies,” she added.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) explained that the Alert Level 1 announcement is due to the persistent “low seismicity” or magmatic, tectonic, or hydrothermal disturbance beneath the volcano.

Quizon highlighted that the alert level aims to give warning to agencies involved, especially to local government units which are the first line of defense, to revisit their contingency and disaster preparedness plans.

It is to clear the reactions of the people who make the issue worse. Social media is very powerful. Do not panic because we are doing this for proper information and knowledge for our people in Central Luzon,” she stated

She added that the agencies are alerted “to make ourselves safe” as Region 3 is vulnerable to natural disasters.

In terms of preparedness, OCD mentioned that compared to the eruption of Mount Pinatubo 30 years ago, Central Luzon has improved with much more vigilance.

We are very much prepared now especially that we have Republic Act 10121 which allowed us to have Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils from the national level down to the barangays which are guarding the surrounding areas or the area of responsibility of Mount Pinatubo,” Quizon explained.

In case of disaster, OCD said the region could tap ‘Operation Listo’, an advocacy program of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, to strengthen disaster preparedness of local government units using the whole-of-government approach.

‘Operation Listo’ involves a manual on what to perform before, during, and after the volcanic eruption.

Located at the tripoint boundary of Zambales, Pampanga, and Tarlac, Mount Pinatubo‘s eruption in June 1991 was considered the second-largest terrestrial eruption of the 20th century.