Mayor braces for Kanlaon eruption

(From left) Bago City Mayor Nicolas Yulo, Denis S. Pinosa, Protected Area Superintendent of Mount Kanlaon Natural Park; and La Castellana Mayor Rhummyla Nicor-Mangilimutan lead the “symbolic patik” to mark the opening of the Halad kay Kang-laon Festival at the Bantayan Park of Bago City.

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Mayor Nicholas Yulo of Bago City, Negros Occidental on Tuesday said the local government unit (LGU) has drawn up a contingency plan in case Kanlaon volcano erupts.

Yulo said Bago City is the most populated LGU within the proximity of the volcano’s eruption.

Yulo, together with La Castellana Mayor Rhummyla Nicor- Mangilimutan and Denis S. Pinosa led the “symbolic patik” marking the opening of the Halad kay Kang-laon Festival at the Bantayan Park of Bago City, Tuesday with the theme “Ang Pagbangon sang Kuminidad, Nasandig sa Pag-amlig sang Dunang Manggad.”

The mayor told reporters the volcano had already been acting up even before the pandemic began in 2020.

The Bago City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO) have already drawn up plans since 2020 in case Kanlaon erupts.

The mayor said he is specifically worried that the volcano will suddenly be placed under “Alert Level 3”.

He cited the example of Taal volcano eruption in Batangas back in January of 2020 wherein from Alert Level 1, the volcano’s alert status suddenly went up to Level 3.

“Since then, we’ve been drawing up plans, in fact last week we had a meeting with the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council,” Yulo said.

He assured that “our contingency plans are in place.”

He also said that there are worst case scenarios that the volcano’s lava and volcanic material could reach as far as the city’s center.

The villages of Ilijan, and Mailum are likely first to be hit in the event of an eruption.

Previously, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) director Dr. Renato Solidum advised local government units surrounding the Kanlaon volcano to review their disaster preparedness plans after they recorded increased activity at the volcano.

Among the other LGUs who heeded PHIVOLCS’ advice are the towns of Pontevedra, Moises Padilla, and La Castellana, and the cities of San Carlos, Himamaylan, and La Carlota.

As of August 9, Kanlaon still remains under an Alert Level 1 status and entry to the four kilometer permanent danger zone remains prohibited.