CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in Central Luzon has intensified its monitoring of Mt. Pinatubo following a series of earthquakes that was detected in the area.
Julius Ceasar Sicat, DOST Region 3 director, told Bulacan Ronda Balita that they are closely monitoring the volcano with ongoing upgrades to the Pinatubo Volcano Network (PVN) and upcoming geochemical surveys of the Pinatubo crater lake and the condition of the volcano.
In an advisory, DOST-Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) showed that since January this year, the PVN and the Philippine Seismic Network (PSN) have detected a total of 826 imperceptible earthquakes east-northeast of Mt. Pinatubo in the Mabalacat, Pampanga area.
They said that although there is no threat yet from the recent earthquake activities, the communities and local government units (LGUs) near the volcano were alerted against future earthquakes and volcanic hazards.
Mount Pinatubo erupted 29 years ago and killed hundreds of people. The volcano discharged millions of tons of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere.
Rescuers aboard a helicopter saved 12 people from drowning after rising lahar detached the footbridge across Mancaiban river in Porac, Pampanga.
One of those rescued, Corazon David, said she owed her second life to the helicopter pilot. David lost her husband, Judge Antonio David, of Angeles City Metropolitan Trial Court who was swept away by mudflows. Judge David could have been the 13th person to be saved if he had managed to hang on.
The judge was found dead several hours later about 14 kilometers from the said bridge. Former Region 3 police director, Ret. Chief Supt. Diony Ventura, said that even Corazon, the judge’s wife would not have been able to make it if not for the alertness and presence of mind of the Helicopter 759 crew led by pilots 1st. Lt. Sabeniano Depay and Antonio Francisco Jr.
Corazon was already swept some 12 kilometers away from the bridge when she was spotted and saved. Her rescuers tried four times to pluck her out of the raging mudflow. “Napakabigat niya (Corazon) kasi punong-puno pa ng lahar ang katawan niya.” She was heavy because her body was full of lahar and mud,” Depay said.
On their fourth attempt, Ventura said strong winds were buffeting the helicopter. The pilots managed to pull Corazon out and brought her to safer ground.
Due to lahar flows, then Pampanga Gov. Lito Lapid ordered Bacolor residents to abandon their homes and to seek higher grounds. About 19 to 21 barangays were buried in the lahar in Bacolor.
The Pasig-Potrero river system from Porac town to Bacolor was also buried under lahar as well as more than 503 houses in several barangays in Bacolor. Only the belfry of the old Catholic Church and the roof of the two-storey municipal building in the said remained visible.