The Ninoy Aquino International Airport temporarily stopped operations while Manila and Paranaque cities suspended classes for Monday as ashfall from the erupting Taal Volcano reached Metro Manila Sunday evening.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) released a notice to airmen B0090/20 and B0089/20 suspending arriving (from 12 January at 7:00 p.m. until 12 January at 11 p.m.) and all departing (from 12 January at 6:22 p.m. until 12 January at 11 p.m.) flights at the country’s main airport.
The closure of the airport came after volcanic ash clouds reportedly reached 50,000 feet from surface level directly affecting air traffic ways. A pilot landing in Manila has encountered volcanic ash.
CAAP authorities are also discussing the potentiality of redirecting all NAIA arriving flights to Clark International Airport in Pampanga.
CAAP Director General Jim Sydiongco and Deputy Director General Don Mendoza are already at the Philippine Air Traffic Management Center (ATMC) to discuss plans in handling the Manila’s current airway situation following the volcanic explosion.
The Manila International Airport Authority advised travelers to coordinate with their airlines.
A motorist reported that ashfall caused zero visibility in the South Luzon Expressway.
Meanwhile, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno ordered the suspension of Monday’s classes in all levels of public and private schools in the city due to the ashfall. Moreno, who is stranded in Hong Kong, advised Manilenos to store water and stay at home for safety.
He also called on local fire volunteers to go to parts of Batangas, Cavite and Laguna to assist in the cleanup of ashfall.
Parañaque City Mayor Edwin L. Olivarez also cancelled classes for Monday in all levels of public and private schools for the public’s safety.
Senator Francis Tolentino will have a meeting with Batangas mayors and officials from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) regarding the eruption at the Tagaytay Convention Center on Monday at 8 a.m.
In Batangas, the provincial police office reported that around 2,000 residents near the volcano have been evacuated.
NDRRMC Spokesman Mark Timbal said the volcano is swelling because of magma activity.
Ma. Antonia Bornas, chief of the volcanic monitoring division of PHIVOLCS appealed to the public to help report observation of the volcano because their instruments and cameras were destroyed during the eruption.
“We need additional monitoring. Yung mga instruments namin, nasira. Yung visual cameras namin, nakitil na. We’re relying on the reports of many people,” said Bornas.