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WEDNESDAY I JANUARY rs,2o2o i neuts

House to probe Phivolcs'

lack of warning on Taal
By DELON PORCALLA failed to inform the public as well as look
into reports lhat several unscrupulous
While the House o{ ReprcsentatiYes businessmen sold face masks atexpensive
recognizes the challenges faced by the prices.
Philippine Institute of Volcanology and "Appropriate charges need to be filed
Seismology (Phivolcs), a senior adminis- against- those unscrupulous persors who
tration lawmaker still wants an investiga- sold face masks and ot-her food and supplies
tion on why it failed to inform the public at anuffeasonable cos!" he wamed, noting
about Taal Volcano's imminent eruption. ihere is an "imoerative need" to determine
"There are no neirys bulletins oi SMS impmvementjin the responses of the local
alerts fmm Phivolcs and other concemed and national govemment a#ncies.
government agencies. Although it stated "There should alsobe an investigation
there was a warning of Level 1 since on the oermanent sefllernent i-n Taal Vol-
March 2019, there is clearly a lack of dis- cano when it has alreadybeen categorized
semination of information " Rep. Elpidio as permarent darger zone posing a dan-
BarzagaJr. pointed out yesterday. -gerlo themselves a:rd rescue workers who
The Dasmariflas City congressman also had to risk their own lives to move
from Cavite province noted that Phivolcs them," Barzaga maintained.
did not provide the "hazards of volcanic Congress earmarked P588.1 million for
activity of Taal Volcano to the general pub- this year's budget of the Phivolcs for the
lic and more particularly to its nearby cit- acquisition of equipment needed to up-
ies and municipalities 6f Cavite, Laiuna grade its monitoring of potential disasters.
and Batangas." House Majority Leader Martin Ro-
A portion of House Resolution o43 he mualdez revealed that lawmakers decid-
authored stated a "need to have a pro- ed to provide an additional P221.4 million
active and nol. a defensive response from to the original allotted P366.7 million for
Phivolcs, concemed govemment agencies the agenry tasked to monitor volcanic
and loca-l govemrnent r.rnits (LGUs) wiLh erupti,ons, earthquake ard even tsunamis.
regard to their actions or inactions" to the "We do not fault the Philvolcs for the
latest Taal VL-'lcano erupti.rn. lack of adequate warnings on the impact
"To be surc, due to lacL of informa- of the phreatic explosion. We are aware
tioo while Taal is already manifesting that it is really difficult to predict the oc-
increased volcanic activity, people still currence of volcanic eruption and related
traveled towards it, while those who disasters," the Leyte congressman said.
"But this is preeiselv the reas,'n why
were alreaclv nearu,ere shocked to see the
smoke spewinrl rrt.,nr it had t.r imme- Congrcss increaseci thebudset of Phivolcs
diately ilee uneler the tlanger e'f ashfall." tbr 2tJ20. We need to upgrade the r:oul-
The Barzaga resolution directed the try's monitoring and waming program
aDDroDriate committee in the House to for volcanic eruption, earthquake and
c6idutt an investigation on why Phivolcs tsunami," Romualdez stressed.