MFA advises Singaporeans to defer travel to areas affected by Philippine volcano eruption

Residents walking past wooden boats in Tanauan town, Batangas province, as Taal volcano erupts on Jan 13, 2020.
Residents walking past wooden boats in Tanauan town, Batangas province, as Taal volcano erupts on Jan 13, 2020.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on Monday (Jan 13) advised those intending to travel to areas affected by the ongoing eruption of the Taal volcano in the Philippines to defer their travel.

Although Taal, located about 60km south of Manila on the island of Luzon, began spewing plumes of ash and steam on Sunday, the Philippine authorities have warned that a further "hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days", Singapore's MFA said.

No casualties and no major damage have been reported from the eruption so far, but more than 20,000 villagers in the Batangas and Cavite provinces have been evacuated.

Flight operations at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, which was shut on Sunday evening, partially resumed on Monday but the local authorities are closely monitoring the situation.

At least 10 flights between Singapore and Manila were cancelled or rescheduled on Monday, according to Changi Airport's website. This includes flights operated by Singapore Airlines, Scoot, Jetstar Airways and Philippine Airlines.

The MFA added that Singaporeans already in the Philippines should monitor local news closely and heed the instructions of the local authorities. They should also stay in touch with friends and family to let them know they are safe.

Those who have yet to register with the MFA should do so here.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, the government volcano-monitoring agency, raised the danger level around Taal to level four, just one level away from the highest level.

Taal, one of the smallest but most dangerous volcanoes in the world, killed 1,335 people when it erupted in 1911, and has recorded 34 major and minor eruptions in the past 450 years.