Are we prepared for the major Taal eruption worse case scenario?

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It is not the responsibility of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology to prepare residents of Batangas for any crisis scenario. It is the responsibility of the Department of Interior and Local Government or the DILG to prepare citizens for this.

Checking PHILVOCS website show that as early as March 2019, they have noticed increased volcanic activity in the Taal caldera. This intensified last December 2019. PHILVOCS reported it to relevant agencies.

No plan was created.

While government did respond quick since last Sunday, the question remains if government is indeed, prepared for the worst case scenario, such as a major eruption which could create what PHILVOCS described as a volcanic tsunami. Such a tsunami which could reach 135 feet may affect not just Batangas and Cavite but even Manila.

One sign that our government is not is when local government officials decided to use evacuation centers which is kilometers away from the caldera yet still relatively low lying areas. PHILVOCS already said that among the hazardous effects of a major Taal eruption, this includes not just a blast surge which could obliterate objects within a 14 to 15 kilometer radius but a more destructive volcanic tsunami which could reach areas beyond the danger zone.

Meaning, the danger of rushing ocean waters entering the Taal caldera and inundating the entire area remains a possibility. Tsunamis are destructive forces of nature which had historically erased whole civilizations such as the Minoan civilization in Greece.

One corrective measure government should do right now is for it to evacuate more people to higher and safer areas. Experts from government should meet and should identify higher grounds for evacuation–otherwise, hundreds even thousands of people could be affected once a tsunami hit Balayan bay and nearby coastal towns of Batangas and Cavite. Such a tsunami may likewise reach areas as far as East towards Laguna or West towards Manila.

Government must sound the alarm right now and implement evacuation of communities which line Manila Bay.

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