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Taal Volcano

Twitter’s trending topic ‘Grabe January’ saw Filipinos including Kobe’s death in global tragic events this month

in News/Tabloid PH News

Just like the rest of the world, Filipinos mourned the death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant, regarding the fatal helicopter crash as one of global tragic events that made January 2020 a month that made a lot of people suffer.

NASA Astronaut Christina Hammock Koch posted an image of the ash-covered Taal Volcano as seen from the International Space Station.

In the Twitter trending topic “Grabe January”, Filipinos listed down what they believe as the events that already caused grief and sufferings right at the first month of the year.

Included on the list are the Australia bush fire and other wildfires, the rise of the deadly novel coronavirus (or 2019-nCoV), the Iran-US tussle, the eruption of Taal Volcano, the numerous earthquakes, and the death of the player known globally as Black Mamba. Avid followers of James Reid and Nadine Lustre also included the JaDine breakup on the list.

Filipinos vented their frustration over what they said as “very long” and bad start for the year in the topic ‘Grabe January’ on Monday (January 27).


Filipinos love Kobe Bryant, 41, especially since they had close encounters with him on numerous occasions.

Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday along with daughter Gianna and several others, had at least six official visits to the Philippines during his National Basketball Association (NBA) career. His first visit was in August 1998 and wowed the fans at the old Araneta Coliseum with his awesome dunks. He returned in September 2007, July 2009, July 2011, August 2013, and June 2016.

Gianna Bryant and her father, former NBA player Kobe Bryant, attend the WNBA All-Star Game 2019 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas in July. Both were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas. 
(Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), the premier professional basketball league in the Philippines, expressed its grief and gave tribute to the Black Mamba in a statement.

PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial, in a statement, said:

“The PBA has lost a dear friend in Kobe Bryant who leaves behind fond memories of seven unforgettable visits to our country. Kobe was an exceptional basketball player but beyond his athletic skills, he was known for his caring heart and love of family. His life was an inspiration and a lesson to everyone that with hard work, dedication, and self-sacrifice, nothing is impossible. At 41, Kobe is gone too soon but his legacy will last forever. The PBA mourns the passage of a man who has touched the lives of millions.  Rest in peace, Kobe.”

Kobe, in one of his visits to the Philippines, also played alongside other NBA stars in a game versus the Philippine national team that was preparing for the FIBA Asia Qualifiers.

Pagcor’s P2-B project starts ball rolling on construction of permanent evacuation centers in disaster-prone areas

in News/Tabloid PH News

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) will set in motion the proposals to build permanent evacuation centers in disaster-prone areas around the country.

Pagcor announced on Tuesday (January 21) that it is allocating P2 billion for the construction of a Multipurpose Evacuation Center (MPEC) in each of the 11 sites it already identified.

“Following ocular inspections and evaluation of the locations identified as calamity-prone, Pagcor submitted the list of the areas to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to ascertain the implementation of the project,” the gaming regulator said.

President Duterte, in a speech before victims of the Taal Volcano eruption in Sto. Tomas, Batangas on Monday, urged Congress to help allocate fund in building large evacuation centers in disaster-prone areas particularly in the provinces facing the Pacific Ocean like Samar, Isabela and Cagayan.

Several bills have been filed in both houses of Congress calling for the construction of permanent evacuation centers around the country.

At the Senate, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian filed Senate Bill (SB) 747 or “An Act Establishing Evacuation Centers in Every Municipality and City, Providing For The Necessary Facilities, Ensuring Their Structural Capacity, and Appropriating Funds.” Senator Bong Go, meanwhile, filed SB 1228 or “An Act Establishing a Mandatory Evacuation Center in all Cities, Provinces and Municipalities, Appropriating Funds Therefor.” 

A counterpart bill was filed in the lower chamber by Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate.

Pagcor said the P2-billion MPEC project is “the latest development in one of the agency’s major plans in fulfillment of its mandate to help uplift the lives of the Filipinos.”

Pagcor’s MPECs will be used to accommodate victims of calamities such as supertyphoons, floods and volcanic eruptions, as well as for other community endeavors.

Meanwhile, PAGCOR visited 11 temporary evacuation centers in Bauan, Batangas and Indang, Alfonso, Mendez, Amadeo and Tagaytay in Cavite during the first phase of its relief activities from January 15 to 17, 2020 to distribute relief packs to the 4,000 families displaced by the eruption of Taal Volcano.

The agency donated non-food items like mosquito nets, slippers, detergent soaps, hygiene kits and blankets. Some employees also pooled their resources to donate rice, water and used clothes.

Economic losses due to Taal Volcano eruption already at P6.66 billion as of January 20 – Neda

in News/Tabloid PH News

Income losses due to the prolonged activity of Taal Volcano have been pegged at more than P6.66 billion already as of January 20, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).

The figure takes into consideration the impacts on economic activities within the 17-kilometer high-risk radius from the volcano that covers 26 cities and municipalities.

The 6.657-billion economic losses already represent 0.26 percent of the gross domestic product of the Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon (Calabarzon) Region.

Neda said foregone income in the agriculture and fishery sector is already P3.167 billion, industry sector at P711.9 million, and services sector at P2.778  billion.

In the 14-kilometer radius alone, Neda said close to 400,000 people will have to be evacuated in 16 cities and municipalities in case of hazardous eruption of Taal Volcano. 

Right now, or one week after the phreatic eruption of Taal and its continued activity, a total of 50,599 families, or 203,763 individuals, have been evacuated from the affected barangays in Batangas, Cavite and Laguna.

The Taal Lake alone provides sustenance to 2,761 fisherfolk gathering finish, crustaceans and mollusks.

“The lake is predominantly used for fisheries but has multi-resource uses such as recreation, tourism, navigation, water source for Tagaytay, irrigation and source of feeds for docs. As a major tourism destination area, the lake is used for sight-seeing, boating, swimming, sailing, and water skiing,” Neda said in its report titled “Preliminary Assessment of the Economic Impacts of the Taal Volcano Eruption”.

Taal Lake has an area of approximately 239 square kilometers and the lakeshore circumference is about 267 kilometers. Within the lake is a volcano island with an area of around 24 square kilometers. It is surrounded by eight rivers namely: Palico River, Obispo-Molino River, Dacanlao River, San Juan River, Calumpang River, Malaking Ilog River and Rosario River which serve as inflows and the Pansipit River as an outflow down to Balayan Bay.

Farm damage due to Taal eruption rises to P578 million; volcanic ash to replenish soil nutrients in affected areas

in News/Tabloid PH News

While the Taal Volcano eruption has already damaged P577.59 million worth of crops and livestock, the volcanic ash that covered several areas also brings benefits as it will improve soil fertility over the long term, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.

Data released by the DA office in the Southern Tagalog region as of January 14 showed that the eruption has already affected 2,772 hectares of farm lands and 1,967 animal heads. 

Damaged farms had rice, corn, coffee, cacao, banana and high-value crops.

Alert Level 4 is still up in the area, which means a hazardous eruption is expected within hours or days.

Although currently destructive, the volcanic ash deposits will also contribute to the so-called “birth of soil”, or the renewal and replenishing of soil nutrients in the affected farms. The Bureau of Soils and Water Management said this will improve soil fertility on medium to long term.

The DA interventions so far include P21.7 million worth of crops and livestock to be distributed by DA CALABARZON to 17 LGUS including Agoncillo, San Nicolas, Talisay, Lemery, Laurel, Lipa City, San Jose, Nasugbu, Mataas na Kahoy, Balete, Cuenca, Alitagtag, Padre Garcia, Tanauan City, Malvar and Taal. 

“These interventions include the provision of livestock for restocking and rice and corn seeds, high-value crops planting materials and other production inputs,” the DA said.

Also, the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) has available drugs and biologics to be provided for the affected livestock. Also, two trucks are available to mobilize the affected areas for animal rescue and evacuation.

The DA added: “As for the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), a total of 5,000 coffee mother plants and 1,000 cacao seedlings are ready for distribution for damaged coffee and cacao areas.”

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) will prepare immediate assistance in the form of fingerlings (7M fingerlings for tilapia; 20,000 for Ulang; 50,000 for hito; 100,000 for Bighead Carp; and 5,000 fingerlings for Ayungin) once aquaculture operation in the Lake will resume.

“Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) has an initial amount of Php 30M ready to provide to Rural Bank of Mt. Carmel as funds for the implementation of Survival and Recovery (SURE) Loan Assistance that will benefit around 1,200 farmers/fisherfolk in Batangas. In addition, the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) has available and enough funds to pay for the indemnity of the affected insured farmers and fisherfolk,” the DA said.

SHOWBIZ: Celebrities stranded in airports due to flight cancellations caused by Taal Volcano eruption

in Entertainment/Tabloid PH Showbiz

According to reports, many celebrities were stranded in airports due to the cancellation of flights brought about by the eruption of Taal Volcano last Sunday (January 12).

Raymond Gutierrez and Sarah Lahbati, for instance, were already at the Hong Kong International Airport last Sunday when they were informed that flights to and from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) had been canceled.

The couple, who are now having their pre-wedding celebrations with friends and families, went back to the airport the following day and were again told that flights to Manila are still not allowed, as Taal Volcano remains on Alert Level 4, meaning an explosive eruption can happen within hours.

Singers Pilita Corrales, Jay-R and Claire dela Fuente, meanwhile, were supposed to board a plane to Manila from Cebu City when the announcement of the flight cancellations were made.

Reports said they will just take a ferry to Manila instead.

Actress Ruffa Mae Quinto narrated in her Instagram post that she and her family were also stranded in Hong Kong. They waited for several hours at the airport hoping things would normalize. “Kaya ako , simple na lang , ang important safe kaming family , kahit anong pag daanan,” she said. “[B]asta niyakap ko Anak ko … sabi ko basta kasama ko sya [at] healthy kami.”

Meanwhile, members of the Korean girl group Cherry Bullet were stranded at the NAIA. They were supposed to fly back to their country when authorities decided to cancel the flights.

A statement of the group’s handler FNC said: “We attended the 24th Asian Television Awards in Manila, Philippines on January 11 and 12, and a volcano erupted near Manila. The members and staff are safely staying at a hotel and watching the situation. They were scheduled to return to Korea on January 13, but due to the closure of the airport, they will return as soon as the situation is normalized. We sincerely hope that there will be no damage to local residents and fans. We will do our best to make sure that Cherry Bullet returns home safely.”

Road fissure caused by volcanic tremors destroys homes in a town near Taal Volcano

in News/Tabloid PH News

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.

How the ashfall from Taal Volcano can harm you

in News/Tabloid PH News

The Department of Health (DOH) has advised the public to minimize exposure to the volcanic ash blown to Metro Manila cities after the Taal Volcano eruption on Sunday (January 12).

This is because the ashfall contains harmful substances such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, fluorine and hydrochloric acid, among others.

Among the harmful effects of volcanic ash are: nose and throat irritation, coughing, bronchitis-like illness, discomfort while breathing, eye irritation and skin irritation.

Particularly vulnerable to these harmful substances are people suffering from asthma, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This is why they are advised to remain indoors. 

Interviewed over radio station DZMM, pulmonologist Giancarlo Arandia said the ash particles are so small that can easily enter the openings of the respiratory system.

Those who can’t avid gong outdoors, Arandia said they should use N95 masks or damp towel in covering their nose.

Ophthalmologist Nilo Flor Cruz also told DZMM: “Irritating ‘yung ash na ‘yon dahil medyo acidic ‘yon eh. Kung dati sa panahon ng Pinatubo, pwedeng mangalawang ‘yung mga bubong, paano pa ‘yung mata natin.”

He recommended the use eye of lubricant drops to remove the tiny ashes and also regular washing of the face.

The Philippine office of the World Health Organization gave these recommendations to the public: stay indoors unless absolutely necessary; avoid low-lying areas and areas downwind from the volcano; for children, the elderly, and people with respiratory problems, wear masks that block small particles of ash; for the general population, wear a simple mask; wear protective eye gear; make sure food and water you consume are safe.

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