Taal residents asked to voluntarily evacuate
Diosdado Macalintal, a member of the PDCC secretariat, told GMANews.TV in a phone interview that it would be better for the affected residents to first seek refuge in their relatives living in areas far from the volcano.
"We are encouraging the voluntary evacuation of residents there in the vicinity of danger zone," Macalintal said.
He, however, said no forced evacuation was needed for now since the alert level on Taal remains at 2.
Forced evacuation will only be enforced when the alert level escalates to 3 or 4. At that point, residents will be evacuated to schools and covered courts in six towns, located outside the seven-kilometer danger zone.
Macalintal said it was in 1991 when he last saw Taal volcano manifest similar activities.
"Mixed reactions ngayon ang mga residente sa Taal. Hindi maiiwasan na siyempre may resistance if ever magkaroon ng forced evacuation," Macalintal said.
(Taal residents have mixed reaction. It can't be avoided that there will be resistance if ever there is a forced evacuation.)
He said he expects some residents to stay behind even during an Alert Level 4 so they could guard their properties and tend to their animals.
An Alert Level II was hoisted on Taal Volcano on Tuesday after the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) detected 32 volcanic earthquakes. The temperature of the Taal Lake has also increased.
According to Batangas vice governor Jose Antonio "Marc" Leviste II, the number of earthquakes monitored near the volcano had gone down although water temperature continued to increase.
"We are continuously observing and closely monitoring the situation and we will have a meeting tomorrow (Friday) with the PDCC," he said in a radio interview.
Phivolcs director Renato Solidum Jr. earlier said the volcano's main crater is off limits to people because hazardous steam-driven explosions may occur, along with the possible build-up of toxic gases.
The whole volcano island is considered a permanent danger zone, while portions of the Daang Kastila trail are areas with hot grounds and steam emissions, Phivolcs said. - KBK, GMANews.TV