ECONOMIC ZONES are evaluating their disaster preparations in the event of further activity from Taal volcano, with the industry association considering the likeliest scenario to be more ashfall.
Philippine Ecozones Association (PHILEA) President Francisco S. Zaldarriaga said in a mobile phone message Tuesday that the association “can expect merely heavier ash fall and if at all — small projectiles to reach our parks.”
He said this assessment is based on a Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) briefing for locators and industry stakeholders organized by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority on Monday.
Mr. Zaldarriaga told reporters Monday that evacuation plans will depend on the intensity of ash fall and projectiles from the volcano.
“Apart from… cleanup, (locators are organizing) a plan for a level-5 situation. You really just have two options. One is to evacuate immediately, or two is to stay put.”
A level-5 alert denotes an ongoing explosive eruption. The current alert level for Taal is 4, signifying imminent danger of a stronger eruption.
“Evacuation, if you are allowed, seems to be the most logical. But if there are projectiles, you know those things move at 150 miles per hour,” he said.
He said PHILEA is not considering evacuating in advance.
For now, the association is sharing best practices in preparation for Phivolcs alert level 5.
“We are hoping that in spite of the level of preparedness we are programming ourselves that we will not need to implement,” Mr. Zaldarriga said in the text message.
PHILEA members closest to the volcano include Lima Technology Center and First Philippine Industrial Park, Inc., in Batangas. Both are outside the 14 kilometer high-risk zone.
Mr. Zaldarriaga said ecozones have returned to operation after the initial phreatic eruption. — Jenina P. Ibañez