An agency that monitors seismic activity in the Philippines has downgraded the status of the Taal Volcano, which is located in the country's Batangas province. However, the agency warned that the volcano is still in danger of erupting violently despite its current condition.
About two weeks after its phreatomagmatic eruption on January 12, the Philippines Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) has lowered the Taal Volcano's Alert Level status from 3 to 4. According to the agency, its status was downgraded following a significant decline in volcanic activity within the last couple of days.
Taal Volcano's Current Status
As noted by PHIVOLCS, fewer earthquakes were recorded within the regions surrounding the volcano, prompting the agency to lower its status to Alert Level 3. Following the announcement from the agency, local authorities lifted the lockdown on 12 cities of the province that were within the volcano's 14-kilometre danger zone. In addition to the change in the volcano's status, the established danger zone was also decreased to seven kilometres.
The removal of the lockdown was welcomed by the residents of the cities surrounding the volcano as it finally allowed them to return to their homes. "We can breathe easy now because I know our citizens will be happy to be able to go back home. I have requested that electricity and water be returned to areas formerly included in the lockdown," Mayor Angeline Halili of the city of Tanuan said in a press release according to PhilStar Global.
Threat Of Eruption From Taal Volcano
Despite the improving conditions of the volcano, PHIVOLCS warned that it does not automatically mean that an eruption will no longer happen. As explained by the agency, although Alert Level 3 indicates that the volcano's tendency to cause an explosive eruption has decreased, it does not mean that the threat of a natural disaster has disappeared completely.
The agency noted that it will continue to monitor Taal Volcano and its activities within the next few days. If PHIVOLCS detects signs of increased volcanic activity, it may raise its status to Alert Level 4, which means an explosive eruption might occur within hours or days. "Should an uptrend or pronounced change in monitored parameters forewarn a potential hazardous explosive eruption, the alert level may be raised back to Alert Level 4," the agency said in a statement according to CNN Philippines.