Editorial: Better safe than sorry

EVEN if the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) maintained the seismic activities in Mount Kanlaon in Negros Island are "way deep below" the crater, it is still advisable that surrounding local government units should be prepared for any eventuality.

DOST Undersecretary for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Renato Solidum said the other day that they are closely monitoring the active volcano and that there is pressure below but it is still deep.

Mount Kanlaon remained on Alert Level 2, meaning it is undergoing a moderate level of unrest.

He said it is dangerous for the people to be very close to the crater of the volcano. "We always remind the public about the four-kilometer radius permanent danger zone."

Solidum stressed that the people living nearby should be prepared.

If ever there is an eruption, the eruption deposits would affect the communities, he said. It could also trigger earthquakes if the magma moves up the surface.

He assured the public that the agency has instruments, like earthquake and GPS sensors, to detect any seismic activities.

Earlier, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reported that Mount Kanlaon is experiencing swelling and inflation, which manifests seismic behavior quite similar to Mayon Volcano, three months before its major eruption.

Entry into the four-kilometer radius permanent danger zone is still strictly prohibited due to the further possibilities of sudden and hazardous phreatic eruptions.

The Provincial Government is preparing La Castellana for possible Mount Kanlaon eruption.

The Capitol had already laid down the evacuation plan should the status of Mount Kanlaon be elevated to Alert Level 3, Alert Level 4, and Alert Level 5.

Five of the 13 barangays in La Castellana are within the four-kilometer danger zone.

Under Alert Level 3, five of these barangays are highly susceptible to lava. The remaining barangays, which are within the seven to the 12-kilometer danger zone, will be evacuated under Alert 4.

If on Alert Level 5, it means that eruption is in progress.

For the cities of La Carlota and Bago, two barangays are within the four-kilometer zone while one village in San Carlos City is under the danger zone.

For Negrenses, it is still wiser to be cautious and be prepared.
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