Phivolcs: Batangas sign poses no risk

HOLLYWOOD, HOLY COW! This is how Taal Volcano would look from the Tagaytay ridge once a giant “Batangas” sign is put up on the island as approved by the Hollywood-inspired Batangas provincial government. The idea was conceived by movie star-Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto. PHOTO FROM THE OFFICE OF THE VICE GOVERNOR OF BATANGAS

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) is posing no objection to the Batangas government’s controversial plan to install a Hollywood-like sign on Taal Volcano Island.

Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum said having such a sign would not run counter to the agency’s ban on permanent structures on the island.

“The sign will not have any effect if you talk about the risks,” Solidum told the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “What we’re trying to avoid is (having) permanent settlements, not signs.”

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Solidum disclosed that the Batangas provincial government had actually written to him for consultation regarding the plan, and that he did not raise an objection.

“If they think the sign can boost ecotourism in Batangas, that’s their plan,” he said.

Solidum said the only possible risk would be on the sign itself, in case the volcano erupts again. Taal last had a major eruption in 1977, and began showing signs of renewed activity in April this year.

Since July, the Philvolcs has raised Alert Level 1 over the volcano island to deter people from venturing near the steamy crater.