Phivolcs Urges Local Preparations as Mt. Kanlaon Eruption Threat Lingers

Negros Island – Philippine volcanology officials have called on local government units near Mt. Kanlaon to formulate contingency plans, as the volcano continues to pose a significant eruption threat.

According to Philippines News Agency, Phivolcs Director Teresito Bacolcol and Chief Science Research Specialist Ma. Antonia Bornas, the necessity for readiness was stressed during a briefing with Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson at the Provincial Capitol on Monday.

The officials emphasized the importance of having detailed emergency procedures ready, particularly at Alert Level 3, questioning whether local systems and populations were adequately prepared. Communities at the base of Mt. Kanlaon, including the municipalities of La Castellana, Moises Padilla, and Murcia, and the cities of Bago, La Carlota, and San Carlos, are directly affected. Mayor Rhummyla Nicor-Mangilimutan of La Castellana reported that approximately 1,237 families, or 4,190 individuals, are currently housed in evacuation centers.

Bacolcol recommended that no one should reside within the four-kilometer permanent danger zone surrounding the volcano, leaving the enforcement of this safety measure to the discretion of the local authorities. Meanwhile, Bornas maintained that Alert Level 2 will continue until further changes in monitoring parameters are observed. She highlighted the potential for phreatic and short-lived explosive eruptions that could pose immediate dangers to nearby areas.

Furthermore, Bornas pointed out that any significant worsening in seismic activity, ground deformation, and volcanic gas emissions could prompt an escalation to Alert Level 3. She reassured that if a magmatic eruption were to occur, there would be sufficient time to prepare, drawing a contrast to the rapid escalation of activity at Taal Volcano previously.