PHIVOLCS raises alert level 2 over Mayon, warns of possible eruptions

Alert Level 3 raised as 141 rockfalls recorded in Mayon

Phivolcs recorded a third phreatic eruption at 11:43 a.m. yesterday.

In this light, "the public is strongly advised to be vigilant and desist from entering the six-kilometre permanent danger zone to minimise risks for sudden explosions, rockfalls and landslides", Phivolcs said in its latest bulletin on Sunday.

This serves as a notice for the raising of Mayon Volcano's status from Alert Level 1 (abnormal) to Alert Level 2 (increasing unrest).

Mayon, known as the Fuji of the Philippines due to its near-perfect cone shape, had "phreatic or steam-driven eruption" yesterday (Saturday, January 13) and there was a further eruption today. On Sunday morning, Phivolcs said two more steam-driven ash explosions were recorded, producing grayish steam and ash plume.

Phivolcs had earlier raised the alert to "level 2", saying the activity was "probably of magmatic origin, which could lead to more phreatic eruptions or eventually to hazardous magmatic eruptions".

"Mayon's summit crater is now exhibiting bright crater glow that signifies the growth of a new lava dome and beginnings of lava flow towards the southern slopes", the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.

Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office head Cedric Daep announced the barangays in the towns of Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan, Malilipot, Tabaco City, and Ligao City.

Residents have been urged to protect against inhaling the ash by wearing masks or covering their noses and mouths with damp cloths.

Traces of ash fell on Barangay Anoling, Daraga where rumbling sounds were heard; Barangays Sua, Quirangay, Tumpa, Ilawod and Salugan in Camalig, where residents in the town center also reported a sulfuric odor; and Barangays Tandarora, Maninila and Travesia in Guinobatan.

Phivolcs chief Renato Solidum said the volcano appeared due for another eruption. It last erupted in 2014, spewing lava and forcing thousands of people to evacuate.

Residents of at least two villages within the six kilometer radius around the volcano have already been evacuated, but some people still remain in the danger zone, hoping the threat is not yet "critical".

"We call on the people directly affected by the eruption of Mt Mayon to cooperate with their respective LGUs (local government units) in order for us to avoid injuries or casualties", Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said.

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