Ample warning issued on Kanlaon – Phivolcs

CEBU CITY – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Thursday, June 6, insisted that it has given ample advisory before Kanlaon Volcano in Negros Oriental erupted on Monday night, June 3.


PHIVOLCS Director Teresito Bacolcol said enough advisory was issued before the eruption of Kanlaon Volcano in Negros Oriental on Monday, June 3. (Calvin D. Cordova)

Phivolcs Director Teresito Bacolcol said they were in close coordination with the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) before the Kanlaon Volcano eruption.

“May 26 we issued an advisory because we knew there was an increase in the number of earthquakes. Normally, Kanlaon would only have less than five earthquakes a day but on May 26, we recorded 24 earthquakes that was why we issued an advisory,” said Bacolcol.

He was asked to comment on a newspaper report  (not the Manila Bulletin) in which Canlaon City public information officer Dr. Elmer Empiales lamented that the city did not receive a warning from Phivolcs on the volcano’s imminent eruption.

Bacolcol said part of the advisory that they issued was to make sure that there will be no people within the four-kilometer Permanent Danger Zone “because there is always this possibility of a phreatic eruption.”

"We already issued an advisory and we provided this to the OCD and it is the OCD which will cascade down to the grassroots. At the same time, we posted this information on our website, Facebook, X or Twitter accounts. Again, we already informed the public that they have to be vigilant and also the local government unit about the possibility that this will have an eruption without warning,” Bacolcol said.

Bacolcol said that since 2023, Phivolcs has issued at least five advisories on the volcano's possible eruption.

“More or less, we already have an inkling that this is probably going to erupt anytime soon because of the increasing number of earthquakes,” he added.

Bacolcol said the volcano remains under Alert Level 2 which will be maintained if there will be phreatic and short-lived explosive eruption.

“Another scenario that we're looking at is if the parameters would escalate or would worsen, then we have to raise the Alert Level from Level 2 to Level 3 because there might be mud eruption. If we look at the history of Kanlaon Volcano from 1866 until June 3, it only had an episode of magmatic eruption in 1902. We're hoping that it (magmatic eruption) will not happen this time because if that happens, we will have to raise the Alert Level from 2 to 3 and then we probably have to extend the Permanent Danger Zone from four to five or six kilometers depending on the situation,” Bacolcol said.

The alert level will be lowered down if the parameters decline.

“Of course, it will take a long observation time. We have to make sure that the parameters are going down,” said Bacolcol.

Bacolcol advised residents to always observe the four-kilometer Permanent Danger Zone due to threats of sudden eruption, landslides, and rock falls.

“Also, they have to wear face masks to protect themselves from volcanic ashes as this can irritate the lungs and our respiratory tract. Usually, those who have respiratory problems like asthma, they are the most vulnerable,” said Bacolcol.