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Really, now?

A member of the House of Representatives has filed a resolution seeking to investigate whether the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology did its job in the days leading to the eruption of Taal Volcano.

Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga said Filipinos were “taken by surprise” at the Taal activity and that there was a need for “a pro-active and not a defensive response from PHILVOLCS [sic].”

The lawmaker said that the Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology (Philvolcs) has the “duty to assess and timely communicate [sic] information about volcanic hazards and make real time warnings of volcanic activity in order to prevent losses of life and property.”

There was a clear lack of dissemination of information on hazards, Barzaga said, and Congress must investigate whether the agency conducted comprehensive monitoring.

Meanwhile, Special Envoy of Public Diplomacy to China Ramon Tulfo would like to take matters into his own hands.

In a tweet, he said: “Goddamn Phivocvoc! There was no warning about the eruption of Taal Volcano! If I were to have my way, I would have all the Phivocs people executed! [sic]”

These impassioned yet uninformed and uncalled-for comments about how scientists at the Phivolcs are doing their jobs do absolutely nothing to quiet the chaos unleashed by the picturesque but deadly volcano in Batangas. The agency has been monitoring the volcanic activity and has been issuing alerts, but what to do with this information is ultimately at the hands of local executives and disaster risk reduction and management officials.

Government scientists are a great source of comfort these volatile times, because their fact-based pronouncements will do so much good that the bile spewing out of the mouths of individuals who would say anything and blame anyone instead of doing their part to help contain the damage.

At Alert Level 4, an explosive eruption of Taal is imminent, and this is what everybody should be preoccupied with. Such an event will alter the lives and routines of millions of Filipinos, even those living outside the danger zone.

Any other self-righteous pronouncements have no place in a situation like this. Let’s pay attention to information that matters and ignore the noise that does not add any value to our pursuit.

Topics: House of Representatives , Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology , Taal Volcano , Elpidio Barzaga , Ramon Tulfo
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