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OCD, NDRRMC reiterate gov’t readiness to respond amid Taal volcanic smog

QUEZON CITY -- “The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) CALABARZON, this Friday afternoon, convened the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDDRMC), with all line agencies, to coordinate the situation and the ongoing response operations relative to volcanic smog or vog from Taal Volcano. We want to assure the public especially the affected areas that the preparedness measures of various government agencies are all in place. Everything is manageable. Medical resources are available in the region as well as the other needs. The national government is always ready to support the Local Government Units and the affected areas.” said Undersecretary Ariel Nepomuceno, Civil Defense Administrator and National DRRMC Executive Director.

As of September 22, a total of 112 smog-related health consultations were already reported in CALABARZON.

“We also remind the public to heed the advisories of the Department of Health (DOH) as well as the warnings being issued by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) for the safety of everyone. PHIVOLCS and the DOH have been issuing warnings on the health hazards posed by the volcanic smog. We are amplifying these advisories and warnings for public awareness.” Usec. Nepomuceno added.

In its bulletin advisory, PHIVOLCS explained that “vog consists of fine droplets containing volcanic gas such as SO2 which is acidic and can cause irritation of the eyes, throat and respiratory tract with severities depending on the gas concentrations and durations of exposure. People who may be particularly sensitive to vog are those with health conditions such as asthma, lung disease and heart disease, the elderly, pregnant women and children.”

Meanwhile, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Secretary of National Defense, Sec. Gilberto Teodoro Jr, OCD and NDRRMC are closely monitoring the situation and coordinating with the Regional DRRMC and the PDRRMCs of Batangas, Cavite, and Laguna for preparedness measures and response operations.

Sec. Teodoro also emphasized the importance of timely coordination between national agencies, regional and local government counterparts to ensure appropriate preparation and response interventions in the affected communities.

The public is advised to limit exposure by avoiding outdoor activities and staying indoors, closing doors and windows to block out the vog, drinking water to address throat irritation and to seek medical attention in case of emergency.

The reduced air quality also prompted 45 cities and municipalities in Batangas, Cavite, and Laguna to suspend classes. (OCD)

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Kate Shiene Austria

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Information Officer III under the Creative and Production Services Division of the Philippine Information Agency. 

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