LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 23 (PNA) -- The daily bulletin being issued by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on the condition of the Mayon Volcano or any volcano in the country is the result of a thorough study and findings of all the divisions and departments under the agency which are manned by experts in their own fields, Phivolcs resident volcanologist Ed Laguerta stressed in an interview Thursday.
Laguerta, who has spent most of his time and career watching Mayon's activities for the safety of the Bicolanos, is apparently reacting to critics who have broached the idea of having a second opinion from private experts on the condition of the volcano.
The veteran volcanologist once abandoned a study grant in the United States, although he had just started, to immediately return to the Philippines because Mayon was erupting.
He clarified that the results announced in the bulletin are a product of a long process and careful deliberations of the expert representatives from all concerned departments of the Phivolcs like those of Volcanology, Seismology, Geology, Volcano Monitoring and the Office of the Director.
The process being done by these experts, he said, involves long and deep discussions and each department representative is asked to defend their unit's findings and studies.
"During the discussions, there are debates among the experts before the body can make a comprehensive result or decision for the sake of the public, especially towards the zero-casualty goal of the province of Albay," Laguerta added.
He gave as an example the present condition of Mayon that before they raised the alert level to 2 and 3, the whole Phivolcs council members are being called, wherein the entire body deliberates before raising the alarm on the volcano.
He stressed that each decision and move of the Phivolcs that is reflected at the bulletin is very vital as it has significant implication on the local government unit concerned like the province of Albay, including its towns and cities around Mayon.
"We deliberate much on the effect on the public, especially on human lives," Laguerta stressed.
He added that calling for a council meeting on the raising of the alarm status on a volcano is a difficult move on their part.
"All revolves around the science of the Mayon Volcano," the veteran volcanologist said.
In this connection, APSEMO chief Cedric Daep said their decisions are science based and that they depend on the expertise of Phivolcs scientists.
Daep said public safety is their primary concern. (PNA) FFC/FGS/NIM/CBD