Central Luzon remembers Mt. Pinatubo eruption

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Don Guevarra, DENR info officer for Central Luzon, savors the beauty, mesmerizing scenery and calm of Mount Pinatubo crater that has been made as trekking site for local and foreign tourists, but 29 years ago nature's fury was unleashed in the said crater that destroyed billions of pesos worth of properties and lives lost. (Photo courtesy of DENR information officer for Central Luzon)

SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – The Department of Environment and Natural Resource (DENR) in Central Luzon is reminding everyone to help protect the environment as it commemorates the 29th year of Mount Pinatubo’s eruption on June 15.

However, with the current COVID-19 pandemic, remembering the hardships and recoveries experienced by Central Luzon residents after Mount Pinatubo’s eruption is now being done only through online/social media commemorations, said Don Guevarra, information officer of DENR in the region.

The volcano erupted on June 15, 1991, and is located on the trim boundaries of Zambales, Tarlac, and Pampanga provinces.

President Rodrigo Duterte has declared June 15 this year through Proclamation 960 series of 2020 as a special non-working day in Angeles City and Pampanga so as to render appropriate tribute to those who perished, survived and to those who helped in the relocation, rehabilitation, and recovery on the volcano’s eruption.

Guevarra noted that the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 is the second-largest volcanic eruption of this century that produced mudflows that affected the three provinces and hundreds of kilometers of clouds of volcanic ash.

The volcano eruption has sent ash cloud up to 40 kilometers into the atmosphere blanketing the countryside with volcanic ash and pumice and has reached other countries through drifting ash clouds.

Economic activities have slowed down not only in the said three provinces but also in other parts of the country due to the ash falls and rampaging lahar flows from the crater of the volcano.

The river systems were the lahar flows cascaded down have placed many municipalities under several feet of lahar and many roofs of commercial and residential structures collapse due to the weight of accumulated ash fall.

Not only local communities on the path of the rampaging lahar flows and heavy ash falls were displaced and suffered enormous hardship but also the indigenous peoples Aeta were also badly affected in their nature-inspired daily livings from their ancestral lands that were ravaged by the Pinatubo eruption that has been dormant for several hundred years while commerce and normal day to day activities in Zambales, Tarlac, and Pampanga have to endure for several weeks/months on the effects of ash falls and lahar flows.

The fury of Mount Pinatubo’s eruption has also forced the Americans to abandon its military installations in Clark Field and Subic Bay.

As the years pass by, the lahar deposits left by Pinatubo’s eruption became quarry sites for construction companies and the crater of the volcano has become a popular tourist destination.

Now life has slowly but surely has returned to normal, the economic boom is now being felt in Clark and Subic which was once the military installations of the Americans while natural flora and fauna have slowly made its comeback to the ravaged mountainsides of Mount Pinatubo after 29 years.

As nature slowly repairs the damages brought by Pinatubo’s eruption, the DENR is appealing to all to be an environmental advocate and refrain from using single-use plastic. (RONDA BALITA Online)

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