Duterte’s Taal remark hit
The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas said President Duterte’s remark on the Taal volcano situation reeks of irresponsibility and callousness. “He is only making matters worse with his thoughtless blabber. We are appalled at how Duterte can make fun of the situation and say that he would just put a cap on Taal’s crater. His insensitivity and callousness are over the top and unbecoming of a national leader. He displayed yet again his brand of Duterte Palpak.”
More than 14,000 individuals or more than 3,500 families were evacuated from five barangays in Agoncillo and Laurel towns in Batangas as PHIVOLCS raised Taal’s alert level to Level 3 following a short-lived phreatomagmatic eruption yesterday that generated more than 1,000-meters high dark gray plume. Sulfur dioxide belching also reached a record high on Thursday with an average of 13,287 tons of emission. At least 29 volcanic earthquakes also occurred within the vicinity of the Taal network.
In light of the Taal situation, KMP proposed that the P18.4 billion unused fund for Bayanihan 2 be rechanneled and utilized for calamity fund to aid constituents affected by the Taal eruption. “People will need food and economic aid while in evacuation centers. It would be judicious to tap the remaining Bayanihan 2 pandemic fund for calamity mitigation efforts,” says KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos.
A worsening of the situation could lead to a repeat of the January 2020 Taal eruption that has affected more than 200,000 families in Southern Luzon provinces. Taal’s Level 3 alert means that magma is near or at the surface, and activity could lead to a hazardous eruption in weeks. A Level 5 alert means a life-threatening eruption is occurring that could endanger communities. Farming and fishing communities within the seven-kilometer danger zone are among those affected by Taal’s rumbling. Phivolcs warned of a bigger Taal eruption and advised the public to remain alert.
Disaster during a pandemic is an even more dangerous situation. There could be a risk of COVID-19 surge in evacuation centers and emergency shelters. LGUs and health officers in affected Batangas towns and municipalities must take all the necessary precautions to minimize the impact of this latest calamity. ###