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No letup in Taal Volcano activity

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A volunteer from the Animal Kingdom Foundation feeds a pet dog left that was unfortunately left behind by its owners in Batangas. (AKF Facebook)

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has not ruled out the possibility of a bigger Taal Volcano eruption, six days after the country’s second most active volcano wreaked havoc in the provinces of Cavite and Batangas.

More than 666 volcanic earthquakes have been recorded around Taal Island so far, Phivolcs chief Renato Solidum Jr. said in a media briefing on Saturday, and Alert Level 4 (Hazardous Eruption Imminent) is still in effect.

“Ang pagbitak at paglindol ay related sa pag-akyat ng magma.  Dahil po may pag-akyat, may pag-angat ng lupa at pagbagsak sa ilang bahagi,” Solidum explained.

“Sa aming nakikita, nandyan pa rin ang magma na umaakyat at posible ang aktibidad ng Taal Volcano.”

Phivolcs is monitoring possible steam explosion that will ensue in case of a base surge.

The agency defines base surge as “a special class of pyroclastic density currents which are “mixtures of fragmented volcanic particles, hot gases and ash that rush down the volcanic slopes or rapidly outward from a source vent at high speeds.”

“Base surge can reach as far as 14 kilometers, the declared danger zone radius,” said Solidum.

Tagaytay, which has 70 percent of its electricity restored as of Saturday, is too elevated to be affected by a base surge, Solidum explained.

In Agoncillo, Batangas, a lockdown was declared anew after residents were briefly allowed to visit their properties and feed their pets and other animals.

Meanwhile, the Department of Tourism and the Civil Aeronautics Board will meet on Monday to discuss calamity protocol.

DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat and CAB officials will discuss rules that airlines must follow in times of emergencies and natural calamities.

“Airlines must maintain communication with their passengers and update them regarding flight delays, cancellations, and resumptions ahead of schedule, in order to give travelers ample time to plan their trip and avoid unnecessary stranding at the airport,” the department said in a statement.

As vice chair of the CAB, the DOT prioritizes the “provision of adequate, efficient, economical and convenient air services to travelers.”

Some 516 flights and an estimated 80,000 passengers were affected when flight operations at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport were put on hold on Sunday night as ashfall reached Metro Manila.

Partial operations resumed Monday, with the first flight arrival recorded at 12:21 p.m..  The first departure flight being took off 12:31 p.m. (With a report from PNA)

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