Rumblings of a possible explosion of Taal Volcano in Batangas have pushed at least 17 families to voluntarily flee their homes, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council head Benito Ramos said on Sunday.

In an interview on dzBB radio, Ramos said initial reports show that the said number of families, totaling 77 people in all, evacuated to their relatives’ homes after state seismologists raised the alert level and cautioned against a possible eruption in Taal. Three of these families meanwhile fled to the Venancio Trinidad Sr. Memorial School.

“Magandang response ito (This is a good response)," Ramos said.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Saturday raised the alert level in Taal to “2," indicating that magma has been surging toward the surface, which could later lead to an eruption.

Phivolcs added that as of Sunday morning, Taal’s seismic network recorded six volcanic earthquakes in the past 24 hours.

Phivolcs thus advised the public to stay off the main crater, the Daang Kastila Trail, and the 1965 eruption site Mt. Tabaro, “because sudden hazardous steam-driven explosions may occur and high concentrations of toxic gases may accumulate."

State forecasters have warned that a high concentration of toxic gases could damage vegetation and bring about the death of humans and animals. —

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