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Economy

Residents continue to evacuate as Mt. Bulusan remains restive 

RESIDENTS of Barangay Puting Sapa in Juban, Sorsogon are assisted by members of the Philippine Coast Guard as they move to the town’s evacuation center amid continued threat from Mt. Bulusan, which erupted on Sunday morning and spewed ash that covered several surrounding towns. — PHILIPPINE COAST GUARD

EVACUATION continued on Monday for over 8,000 residents in a town affected by ashfall from Mt. Bulusan’s eruption on Sunday, according to emergency response agencies.   

At least 75 families composed of 278 individuals have been moved to the evacuation center in Juban town as of Monday noon, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development Bicol Region office.  

A total of 1,850 families or over 9,250 individuals have been affected, it said.   

No house was reported to have been damaged but local authorities warned against the health threat from ash.   

The Sorsogon provincial government said police and firefighters have completed clearing operations along the main highway and were assisting residents wash out ash from their properties.   

The mountain volcano in Sorsogon province, located about 565 kilometers southeast of the capital Manila, erupted Sunday morning and spewed ash. Sunday’s eruption was recorded at 10:37 a.m. and lasted for about 17 minutes.      

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) recorded 29 volcanic eruptions in the 24-hour period from 5 a.m. Sunday, according to the agency’s bulletin as of Monday morning.   

An alert level 1, which means a low-level unrest, remains in place.  

Phivolcs Director Renato U. Solidum, Jr. said another “phreatic or steam-driven explosion” at Mt. Bulusan is still possible in the coming days or weeks.   

“In past eruptions, sometimes the interval between eruptions was days, weeks, sometimes months,” he said in Filipino during Monday’s Laging Handa briefing.   

The volcano’s edifice was still inflated and sudden steam-driven or phreatic eruptions may occur, according to Phivolcs.  

Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said no damage was reported in the seven airports it operates in Bicol Region, including the new Bicol International Airport in Daraga, Albay.   

The six other airports are in Bulan, Sorsogon, Daet, Masbate, Naga, and Virac.  

“We remain vigilant and alert for the volcano’s next activities,” CAAP Area V Manager Cynthia Tumanut said in a statement. “As of now, our airports have been safe from the wrath of Mt. Bulusan’s eruption. Operations in our airports with commercial flights have remained unhampered as well,” she said. — MSJ 

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