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LGUs need disaster managers —Solidum

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Local government units' response to disasters will be better managed if an official will be at its helm, Phivolcs director Renato Solidum said.

Interviewed on The Howie Severino Podcast on Thursday, the country's chief volcanologist said the need for disaster managers has become more urgent in the wake of volcanic unrest, typhoons and other natural disasters visiting the country each year.

“Importante po talaga na ma-institutionalize na ‘yung talagang permanent disaster managers para magabayan din. And they have the right to whatever decision ang kanilang gagawin,” he said.

“Otherwise, masyado pong complicated ang mangyayari," he added.

Solidum said Phivolcs issues advisories to LGUs based on its scientific monitoring of the volcano.

"Kami po ay nagbibigay ng recommendation. ‘Yung decision to really evacuate or not lies on the disaster managers and the local government,” he said.

“So kami po ay binabatay lang sa pagbabantay, mga monitor parameters ano ‘yung posibleng epekto at magbibigay po kami ng recommendation. At kung sila po ay susunod, kung imo-modify nila ay nakasalalay po sa kanila ‘yun,” he later added.

At present, Alert Level 3 remained over the Taal Volcano, which recently recorded another short-lived phreatomagmatic eruption.

Solidum noted that some local governments were risk-averse and would evacuate residents before any eruptions could occur while others opted to wait.

Lessons from 2020 eruption

Meanwhile, Solidum said they saw that numerous warnings were ineffective without the coordination of local government units and residents.

In January 2020, Taal Volcano spewed ashes in phreatic eruptions due to hydro-thermal activities.

“Kung ating hinihintay ay malapit na malapit na ang eruption bago tayo umalis, we’re always putting our lives at risk,” he said.

He said Phivolcs also realized the importance of the land use planning around the Taal Volcano.

“Example lang, itong 2021 activity, alam niyo ang daming nagsasabi bakit hindi pa tinataas into Alert Level 3 ‘yan? Ang dami-dami nang earthquake, ang dami-dami nang gas,” he said.

(For example, during the 2021 activity, many people asked as why we haven’t raised it to Alert Level 3 when there are so many earthquakes and gas.)

Phivolcs has said that the Taal’s eruptions this year create a different scenario from the January 2020 eruption.—Joahna Lei Casilao/LDF, GMA News

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