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Calabarzon RDRRMC still on alert as vog clears from Taal volcano

CALAMBA CITY (PIA) – The Calabarzon Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) has continued its preparedness and response interventions despite the absence of volcanic smog or vog from Taal Volcano on Monday.

In its advisory today, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said no earthquake activity was also detected from 5 am yesterday to 5 am on Monday.

Phivolcs, however, detected steam reaching 2,400 meters drifting north-northwest.

From September 21 to 24, the Department of Health (DOH) declared a 'code white alert,' indicating their readiness to respond to any emergency situation.

Dr. Ariel Valencia, DOH CALABARZON director, said under a code white status, all hospital workforce such as general and orthopedic surgeons, anesthesiologists, internists, operating room nurses, ophthalmologists, and otorhinolaryngologists are ready to provide the necessary health services.

"We have raised the alert status due to persistent sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions, which are causing smog or vog from Taal Volcano in Batangas," Valencia said in a statement on Friday.

The DOH CALABARZON Disaster Risk Reduction and Management for Health (DRRM-H) is closely coordinating with local task forces and incident management teams to take necessary actions, while the regional health office monitors the volcano’s status and other health-related emergencies.

The Batangas Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) has also conducted an air quality assessment test in three barangays in the towns of Agoncillo, including Barangays Barigon, Sitio Mahabang Gulod, Banyaga, and Poblacion.

Last week, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) distributed N95 masks to the towns of Balaya, Tuy, Nasugbu, Lian, and Calatagan as a precautionary measure against vog emissions.

In person classes in both public and private schools remain suspended on Monday due to vog namely Malvar, Laurel, Mataas na Kahoy, Tanauan, and Sto Tomas in Batangas; Alfonso, General Emilio Aguinaldo (Bailen) and Tagaytay on Cavite; and Los Baños, Cabuyao, and Calamba in Laguna.

Secretary Renato Solidum of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) had said vog is a common occurrence considering Taal’s current alert level.

"At this level, it is lower compared to the previously higher alert levels. What we need to prepare for are the health effects when sulfur dioxide gas combines with moisture, producing volcanic fog or vog," Solidum added. (PB - PIA CALABARZON)

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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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