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Damage from Taal hits P3 billion; fisheries most affected

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PHILSTAR.COM/EFIGENIO TOLEDO IV

DAMAGE from the eruption of Taal Volcano has reached P3 billion, with the fishery sector suffering the most devastation, the Agriculture department said on Friday.

Thousands of people have left their homes after the volcano spewed a column of ash 14 kilometers into the air on Sunday. The ashfall reached as far as cities near the capital, forcing financial markets to suspend trading and the Manila airport to close.

Taal Volcano, one of the world’s smallest and active volcanoes, continues to spew ash and an explosive eruption could happen in days, according to the nation’s volcanology agency.

The second-highest alert status remains hoisted there and a 14-kilometer danger zone from the volcano remained off limits to people.

The Agriculture department said in a bulletin on Thursday evening damage has reached P3.06 billion, affecting 15,790 hectares of land and 1,923 animals.

Coffee, cacao, pineapple, vegetables, rice and coconut were among the damaged crops. Fisheries has suffered P1.6 billion in damages, particularly for tilapia and milkfish, it said.

Taal Lake, the country’s third-biggest lake that fills the Taal Caldera — a large volcanic caldera formed by very large eruptions — contains tilapia, milkfish and the endemic freshwater sardine tawilis, among other fish.

The Calabarzon region — made up of the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon — accounted for 41% of the country’s inland fishery production in 2018 at 164,200 metric tons (MT), according to Philippine Statistics Authority data.

Marine fisheries accounted for 3.93% or 1.89 million MT, while agriculture had a 6.58% share or 2.304 million MT.

Marine fisheries accounted for 3.93% or 1.89 MT, while agriculture had a 6.58% share or 2.304 million MT.

Fish from the lake are not safe to eat because of their high sulfur content, Agriculture officials said earlier.

The Bureau of Animal Industry delivered 20 bags of animal feeds and medicine for rescued livestock, while the Philippine Carabao Center and National Dairy Authority gave 2.5 tons of roughages that will be delivered to Batanagas province on Saturday.

The Agriculture department’s regional field office in Cagayan Valley and Nueva Vizcaya Agricultural Terminal will donate 10 tons of assorted vegetables that will arrive in Lipa City on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the League of Associations, which consists of 11 associations of vegetable farmers and traders in La Trinidad, Benguet, will be giving three to four tons of assorted vegetables. — Vincent Mariel P. Galang





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