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What to expect if Alert Level 3, 4, or 5 is raised over Taal Volcano — PHIVOLCS

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The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) on Sunday explained the possible scenarios on Taal Volcano in Batangas depending on the alert level status.

This after it warned that eruption is possible in Taal Volcano due to thousands of tonnes of volcanic sulfur dioxide or SO2 gas it emitted.

The volcano, currently under Alert Level 3 status, means there is "already magma involved," which prompted authorities to recommend evacuation in areas that could be affected by the volcano's "barpyroclastic density currents."

"Ang Alert Level 3 nagsasabi na may magma na involved diyan sa aktibidad at malapit sa ibabaw kaya kung sakaling tuloy-tuloy ang aktibidad nito, magkakaroon ng pagsabog ng malakas," PHIVOLCS officer-in-charge and Science Undersecretary Renato Solidum Jr. said in an interview on Dobol B TV.

(Under Alert Level 3, there is magma involved near the surface so if this continues, there will be a strong eruption.)

In an advisory on Saturday, PHIVOLCS urged the evacuation of residents in Taal Volcano Island and the high-risk barangays of Bilibinwang and Banyaga in Agoncillo; and Buso-buso, Gulod, and eastern Bugaan in Laurel, Batangas Province. 

Likewise, the PHIVOLCS OIC said the alert level status may be downgraded to Alert Level 2 once volcanic activities weaken. 

"Ang Alert Level 3 maaaring bumaba sa Alert Level 2 kung sakaling humina ang aktibidad ng bulkan, at ang procedure natin titignan for the next 2 weeks noong magsimulang mag-downtrend," he explained.

(Alert Level 3 status may be downgraded to Alert Level 2 if volcanic activities weaken, and our procedure is we will see for the next two weeks from the time that there is a downtrend.)

At Alert Level 4, Taal Volcano could show more dangerous eruptions in the next few hours, the PHIVOLCS official said.

"Kapag ang aktibidad ay tumindi at nagtaas ng Alert Level 4 ibig sabihin niyan na mapanganib na pagsabog ay posibleng mangyari sa mga araw o oras," Solidum said.

(If activities intensify and Alert Level 4 is raised, we can expect more dangerous eruptions in the next few days or hours.)

Lastly, for Alert Level 5, PHIVOLCS warned of worst-case scenarios that could happen at the volcano. —KG, GMA News

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