Phivolcs equipment stolen; Mayon still on Alert Level 2

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LEGAZPI CITY — At least two solar panels of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) here installed at the slopes near the Mayon Rest House in Tabaco City were stolen by thieves on Wednesday night.

Paul Alanis, Phivolcs resident volcanologist, revealed this on Thursday even as he dismissed a report that Mayon Volcano is acting up due to the faint crater glow exhibited on Wednesday.

In an interview, he said the glow was from remnants of the molten rocks on top of the crater emitted during the 2017 eruption.

He also said two 150-watt solar panels were discovered missing during a maintenance inspection. These, he said, provide power to seismograph and tilt data meter instruments that were installed at the upper slopes of Mayon Volcano.

Alanis said data gathered from the instruments provide scientists precise data on the seismograph instruments which detect earthquakes and rock movements inside the volcano’s vent while tilt meter instruments measure ground deformations on the volcano’s edifice.

“With the loss of the panels, there would be a gap in reading the data or signals provided by the instrument,” he lamented.

“Bulag tayo (we’re blinded) to get readings and signals in that location where the panels were lost,” he said, adding that this would in some way affect the processing and reading of data deriving from the instruments.

Alanis said several solar panels and instruments were also lost in the past. He urged villagers to be vigilant in protecting these vital instruments set up in slopes around the volcano.

A Phivolcs bulletin said the alert status over Mayon Volcano remains at Level 2, meaning the volcano is still in moderate unrest.

The public is warned, however, not to enter the six permanent danger zones, including the seven-kilometer extended danger zone at the south flank of the volcano.