MANILA, Philippines — Batangas Archbishop Gilbert Garcera yesterday said they have opened up their churches to accept at least 3,000 evacuees who have been affected by Taal Volcano’s eruption.
Garcera told Church-run Radio Veritas that the people should offer prayers for the evacuees.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle yesterday morning issued a prayer seeking the Lord’s intervention to stop the further eruption of Taal.
Churches opened their doors to evacuees last Sunday and they are now caring for 3,000 residents that include senior citizens, persons with disabilities and pregnant women from Calawit, Batangas.
“Pray for us. With the help of God, the spewing of ashes from Taal Volcano would soon stop,” said Garcera, chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)-Episcopal Commission on Family and Life.
In his prayer, Tagle said the Filipino people are again facing a challenge brought about by the eruption of Taal Volcano. He admitted that human beings are no match for the powerful volcano. However, he believed that God is mightier than the volcano and could quiet it down easily.
The cardinal also hopes the current crisis would bring people together in showing concern and giving help and comfort to those in need.
Both CBCP vice president Kalookan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David and Bataan Bishop Ruperto Santos also appealed for prayers for those affected by the volcanic eruption.
Garcera also asked for donations to provide food and water to those temporarily displaced by the calamity. The public could call these numbers for coordination: (043) 404-8057, 09255595968, 09175089701 and 09177045064.
They could also send help through Caritas Manila, Savings Account Name: Caritas Manila, Inc.
Banco de Oro Savings Account No. 5600-45905;
Bank of the Philippine Islands Savings Account No. 3063-5357-01?Metrobank Savings Account No. 175-3-17506954-3.
For dollar accounts, they could send it to BPI Savings Account No. 3064-0033-55?Swift Code BOPIPHMM;
Philippine National Bank Savings Account No. 10-856-660002-5?Swift Code PNBMPHMM.
The SVD Seminary in Tagaytay also announced that it has opened its doors to give shelter to the evacuees.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) yesterday set up portable water purifiers and deployed 30 personnel to assist in relief operations in Batangas.
Mike Salalima of the MMDA’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management said 30 personnel were sent to assist the Batangas provincial government in volcano affected areas.
The MMDA has also set up two portable water purifiers in Sto. Tomas, Batangas where evacuation centers have been set up, Salalima added.
The MMDA deployed three military trucks, three ambulances and two fire trucks for relief operations in Batangas.
Pampanga Gov. Dennis Pineda led yesterday a caravan of 50 vehicles loaded with 8,500 food packs and relief goods for evacuees affected by the eruption of Taal in Southern Luzon.
Provincial government information officer Jeol Mapiles said the caravan was joined by doctors, nurses, social workers, search and rescue personnel to help their counterparts in evacuation centers around the volcano.
US, UK advisories
The US embassy in Manila yesterday issued a “Natural Disaster Alert” to all Americans who will be affected by the possible full-blown eruption of Taal Volcano.
In its advisory, the embassy warned its citizens in the vicinity of volcano island and high-risk barangays of Agoncillo and Laurel in Batangas that were covered with ashfall.
“In light of intensified eruptive activity, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised Taal Volcano’s alert status from Alert Level 3 (magmatic unrest) to Alert Level 4 (hazardous eruption imminent). This means that hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days,” the embassy said.
It advised all US citizens planning to travel to the vicinity of the restive volcano and surrounding areas to exercise caution.
“The Department of Science and Technology-Phivolcs strongly reiterates total evacuation of Taal Volcano Island and additional evacuation of areas at high risk to pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami within a 14-kilometer radius from Taal main crater,” the embassy said.
It also reminded its citizens situated north of Taal Volcano to guard against the effects of heavy and prolonged ashfall.
The British embassy advised Britons to be patient with flights disrupted at the Manila airport due to ashfall spewed by Taal.
In a travel advice for its citizens, the British embassy said “the ash cloud is over Metro Manila and local government authorities in Manila have begun to advise staying indoors while ash is falling.”
“Also be aware that due to this, flights in and out of Manila international airport are subject to disruption. You should consult your carrier,” the embassy said.
Meanwhile, activity of Taal Volcano last Sunday became an eye opener for those who thought that the volcano was the small mountain with a crater in the middle of Taal Lake.
That small mountain turned out to be the Binintian Malaki, which is just part of the volcano. The actual volcano is on the island that usually is not noticed by visitors.
One of those who had this misconception is Mark Garcia, whose Facebook post on Taal Volcano went viral last Sunday that so far has 34,000 shares.
Garcia said since he was a child, he thought Binintian Malaki was Taal Volcano. He posted a picture showing ashes coming out from the volcano itself.
Netizen Josh Palermo commented on Garcia’s post that he thought so too: “Well, the eruption clearly corrected our assumptions.” – With Rey Galupo, Sheila Crisostomo, Ding Cervantes