Philippines authorities on Monday said it was struggling to keep people out of danger zones around an erupting volcano.
Some officials and residents challenged warnings that a more hazardous explosion could happen.
Taal Volcano in Batangas province, 6km south of Manila, began ejecting huge dark clouds of ash and steam on Jan.12 and later on lava fountains, forcing more than 130,000 people to flee their homes.
According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) in the past days, activity at the volcano has been characterised by steady steam emission and infrequent weak explosions
The institute said volcanic earthquakes ground deformation and high sulphur dioxide emissions, however, indicate continuous magmatic intrusion beneath the Taal edifice, which may lead to further eruptive activity
Phivolcs head Renato Solidum said the public should not be fooled by the apparent simmering down of the activity because they can currently only see white steam.
“People might think nothing is happening, but there is movement underneath,’’ he said.
But Charlie Natanauan, the vice mayor of Talisay, one of the towns badly affected by the eruption, challenged Solidum’s assessment.
“No one in the world can predict a volcanic eruption,’’ he said.
“How can he say that it will happen, Is he God’’
“We should be allowed to go back to our homes because no one can detect an explosion,’’ he added.
Taal Volcano, the second most active volcano in the Philippines, has erupted 33 times since 1572.
Its last eruption was in October 1977.(dpa/NAN)