DOH-Calabarzon declares first level alert as 50 fall ill from Taal vog

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 22) — The Department of Health (DOH) in Calabarzon is under “code white” alert, which means medical experts are on standby, as 50 people fell ill from Taal vog or volcanic particles in the air.

“We have raised the alert status due to persistent sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission that is causing smog or vog from Taal Volcano in Batangas,” said DOH Regional Director Ariel Valencia in a statement on Friday.

The code white alert will be from Sept. 21 to 24.

The department said a code white alert calls for “the readiness of the hospital workforce such as general and orthopedic surgeons, anesthesiologists, internist, operating room nurses, ophthalmologist, and otorhinolaryngologist to respond to any emergency situation.”

As of Sept. 22, the department reported a total of 50 people from Batangas who “experienced respiratory distress” due to vog exposure.

Of the total health cases, 45 were from the municipality of Tuy, four from Nasugbu, and one from Lian, all in Batangas. The patients were brought to the nearest health facilities.

“There are reported individuals (students) na hinimatay at nakaranas ng hirap sa paghinga at pananakit ng dibdib. We are still collecting reports from the local health kung ilan ang total affected,” Valencia said.

[Translation: There were reported individuals (students) who fainted and experienced difficulty breathing and chest pain. We are still collecting reports from the local health on the total number of those affected]

RELATED: Batangas distributes face masks as Taal volcano smog affects residents, students 

The DOH advised people in communities affected by the vog to stay indoors, close doors and windows, wear an N95 mask outdoors, drink plenty of water, and immediately go to the nearest hospital if necessary.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) warned that the vog may remain over areas near Taal as it continues to release sulfur dioxide under alert level 1 status. 

The DOST, however, noted that the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) does not see Taal’s alert level rising, and said there are no signs of a possible sudden eruption.

In 2021, Phivolcs also reported vog over parts of Calabarzon, attributing the haze to Taal’s sudden eruption in January 2020.