The frequent tremors caused by the Taal Volcano activity have caused a 3-kilometer fissure on a road in the nearby town of Lemery, Batangas, destroying around 20 houses and triggering fears among residents that it could be an active fault line.
Teresa Atienza, village leader of Barangay Sinisian, said the crack originated from the Taal Lake and had since branched into several small fissures since it was first noticed in the morning of January 13, or just hours after Taal Volcano erupted on Sunday (January 12).
“Ako po ay natatakot na baka isa itong fault line…ako po ay humihingi ng tulong sa mga expert para malaman kung ano talaga ang dahlian ng pagbitak na ito,” Atienza said in an interview over radio station DZMM.
Lemery is only about 12 kilometers away from Taal.
Atienza said residents of the damaged houses have been relocated. They were advised not to return to their homes as the structures are no longer safe due to the continuous quakes in the area.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said around 200 tremors of below Intensity 5 have been recorded since Taal Volcano heightened its activity.
Taal Volcano’s condition remains on Alert Level 4, which means a destructive eruption can happen within hours.
Atienza said the fissure, reminiscent of scenes in the 2009 movie “2012” when cracks started to appear on Los Angeles roads before it was totally obliterated from the map, could reach as far as the city of Muntinlupa in Metro Manila, where there is an existing fault line.
The whole province of Batangas is now under a state of calamity, with more than 16,000 people already evacuated from areas within the danger zone as of the afternoon of January 14.