PNP Bicol hunts thieves who stole Phivolcs equipment monitoring Mayon Volcano

The PNP chief of Bicol orders Albay cops to get the culprits ASAP

Rhaydz B. Barcia

Published: 9:09 PM February 7, 2020

Updated: 9:24 PM February 7, 2020

ERUPTION. File photo of Mount Mayon magmatic eruption in 2018 viewed from Penaranda Park. Photo by Rhaydz Barcia/Rappler

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines  – The chief of Philippine National Police in Bicol has ordered Albay cops to hunt down the thieves who stole the solar panels which power the equipment used by the  Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) to monitor Mayon Volcano.

Brigadier General Anthony Alcaneses, the Bicol region police director, ordered Albay provincial director Colonel Wilson Asueta Thursday, February 6, to find the culprits as soon as possible.

Phivolcs said the solar panels were stolen from the Mayon Resthouse, which hosts instruments such as the Global Positioning System and a tiltmeter, which is used to measure the tilting of the earth's surface.

It was Paul Karson Alanis, Phivolcs resident volcanologist in Bicol, and Paul John B. Bas, of the volcano monitoring and eruption prediction division and a resident of P-4 Barangay Salvacion, Sto. Domingo, Albay, who reported to Tabaco City PNP that the solar panels were stolen.

The two solar panels with a rating of 150 watts each were housed at the Mount Mayon Rest house/Planetarium located at Barangay Buang, Tabaco City were missing.

The Mount Mayon Rest house is located is some 4 to 3 kilometers away from Mount Mayon’s crater. Also in that area is the Planetarium.

Without the panels, Alanis said, there would be a gap in reading the data or signals provided by the instruments.

Phivolcs scientists in Bicol are closely monitoring the activity of Mount Mayon. The volcano was exhibiting crater glow for several days.

The glow according to Alanis were remnants of the molten rocks on top of the crater emitted during the 2018 eruption.

Mayon Volcano remains under Alert Level 2, which means a "moderate level of unrest." It has been at that level since March 29, 2018.

Two years ago, two other solar panels vital for supplying electrical current to equipment monitoring sulfur dioxide emission in the air of Mayon Volcano were also stolen. – Rappler.com