Mt. Pinatubo alert level raised, but no ‘imminent eruption’ forecast

THE alert warning for Mt. Pinatubo, located in the central Luzon area, was raised on Thursday to level 1 from 0 due to continued seismic activities, but no “imminent eruption is foreseen,” according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs). In its Mar. 4 bulletin, Phivolcs said 1,722 “imperceptible” earthquakes have been detected under the volcano’s range since Jan. 20. The tremors’ local magnitude range between 0.2 to 2.8. Phivolcs recommends staying away from the Pinatubo crater or be done with extreme caution if unavoidable. “Communities and local government units surrounding Pinatubo are reminded to be always prepared for both earthquake and volcanic hazards and to review, prepare and strengthen their contingency, emergency and other disaster preparedness plans,” the agency said. Phivolcs, a unit under the Department of Science and Technology, also assured that it “continues to strengthen its monitoring of the volcano with ongoing upgrades to the Pinatubo Volcano Network and periodic geochemical surveys of the Pinatubo crater lake and satellite analysis of ground deformation.” Mt. Pinatubo last erupted on June 15, 1991, considered as the second largest volcanic eruption in recorded history. The volcano straddles provinces of Tarlac, Pampanga, and Zambales. — MSJ

50-seater boat added to Pasig River Ferry Service, more stations to be reopened


REAL estate firm New San Jose Builders, Inc. has donated a 50-seater boat to the Pasig River Ferry Service, adding to the current fleet of 11 vessels that operate at 50% capacity in consideration of health protocols. Benhur D. Abalos, Jr., chair of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) that operates the ferry system, said the new boat is a most welcome addition as they slowly expand the transport service and provide an alternative to land travel in the congested capital. “We assure the public that we will continue to improve the ferry service for a comfortable and safe riding experience of the public,” he said during the boat’s formal turnover ceremony on Thursday at the Guadalupe station in Makati. Mr. Abalos said their aim is to double the ferry boats, shorten the waiting time of one hour to 30 mins to encourage more passengers, and open the Napindan dockyard in Taguig. He added that they plan to add more routes that will interconnect Manila Bay, Pasig River, and Laguna Lake. The Pasig River ferry, revived in December 2019, runs between Pinagbuhatan in Pasig and Escolta in Manila. The 11 boats currently has a combined passenger capacity of 455 per one-way trip. New San Jose Builders Chairman Jose L. Acuzar said they are glad to contribute in easing traffic congestion. “The Pasig River Ferry Service is an effective alternative transportation that doesn’t just lessen the land vehicle volume but also promotes the beauty of the historic river,” Mr. Acuzar said.

Attack on lawyer in Iloilo unlikely to be just a robbery case — NUPL, IBP

LAWYERS groups doubt that the attack on one of their colleagues involved in the 37 petitions filed against the anti-terrorism law, who was seriously injured Wednesday night in Iloilo City, was a theft-motivated case. National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) President Edre U. Olalia, in a press briefing Thursday, said the snatching of the belongings of Angelo Karlo T. Guillen, the group’s  assistant vice president for Visayas, “is a decoy or distraction.” NUPL Vice President Rene C. Estocapio said Mr. Guillen, who has also been handling human rights cases, has received many life threats before the incident, and “in fact changed his residence because he was stalked.” Two still unidentified men stabbed Mr. Guillen with a screwdriver while he was walking back to his hotel at the Iloilo City Center. Mr. Estocapio confirmed in a mobile message that Mr. Guillen “is now stable with normal vital signs, although he sustained multiple wounds in the face, neck and the back.” The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), called the latest attack on a member of the legal community as “criminality in the highest degree.” IBP President Domingo Egon Q. Cayosa said they are waiting for updates from the Supreme Court on the Summit on Lawyer Security, which is supposed to be held this March. Mr. Cayosa said they “hope it happens before Chief Justice (Diosdado M.) Peralta retires.” NUPL said at least 54 lawyers and judges have been killed since the Duterte administration started in 2016. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago