Sorsogon mayor suspends classes to spare students from ashfall

By Rhaydz Barcia


In an effort to protect the students from the effects of volcanic ashfall following the Bulusan Volcano eruption, incoming Sorsogon governor, Casiguran town Mayor Edwin “Boboy” Hamor, ordered the suspension of classes in his town.


Hamor, who was elected governor during the May election, issued Executive Order No. 09, series of 2022, declaring the suspension of classes and school activities in public and private schools in the municipality of Casiguran due to possible hazards that can occur sudden steam-driven or phreatic eruptions.


Hamor said that Phivolcs alert level 1 status remains in effect over Bulusan volcano as all other monitoring parameters as of this time indicate that current unrest is driven by the volcano’s restive hydrothermal system.


“The LGU and the public are reminded that the entry into the 4-km radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) on the southeast sector must be prohibited due to the increased possibilities of sudden and hazardous phreatic eruption that can occur without warming,” he said.


“With this, classes and school activities in public and private schools in Casiguran are suspended until lifted,” Hamor said.


He also directed municipal and barangay officials and others concerned to take all disaster protocols and execute a course of action.


Jose L. Doncillo, Sorsogon school division superintendent, issued an advisory that there are 17 schools located within the 5 to 6 kilometers radius PDZ in the towns of Barcelona, Bulusan, Casiguran, Irosin and Juban.


The 17 schools situated within the 5 to 6 kilometers permanent danger zone are: Patag Integrated School; Gulang-Gulang Elementary School; Monbon Elementary School; Tinampo Elementary School; Omgon Elementary Schol; Bliss Elementary School; Irosin North High School, Añog Elementary School; and Puting Sapa Elementary School of Irosin.


In Casiguran town: Inlagadian Elementary School and Mabini Elementary School; In Bulusan town are: Capiricohan Elementary School; San Roque Elementary School and San Roque National High School. In Barcelona town:Santa Lourdes Elementary School; Fabrica elementary School; and San Ramon Elementary School.


The Sorsogon Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (SPDRRMO) listed 34 barangays that are situated within the 4 to 6 kilometers danger zone.


The Office of Civil Defense in Bicol said that the 145 families or 469 persons who evacuated after Sorsogon Gov. Francis “Chiz” Escudero ordered the evacuation on June 11 already returned to their homes.


The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology in a bulletin said that Bulusan Volcano is continuously degassing. “Bulusan Volcano has remained restive as degassing from its summit vents continues. Steam-laden plumes have been generated with periods of profuse volume and sporadic ashing that began at 4:30 AM on June 13.


Increased ash in the plumes at 9:00 AM was later followed by reports of light ashfall on Catanusan, Juban, Sorsogon and observations of ashfall on the upper northwest slopes.


At least five episodes of gray ash plume emission from the Blackbird Crater and profuse steaming from the summit vents were observed from IP cameras of the Bulusan Volcano Network (BVN).


Much of the ash was dispersed to the northwest of the summit, but no ashfall on population centers has been additionally reported. The plumes have varied in ascent between 400 meters and 750 meters and have been strongly drifted to the northwest.


People living within valleys and along river/stream channels especially on the southeast, southwest and northwest sector of the edifice were advised to be vigilant against sediment-laden stream flows and lahars in the event of heavy and prolonged rainfall should phreatic eruption occur.