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Those who chose to live around Taal lake have embraced the constant danger imposed by the world’s smallest, yet, one of the most active volcanoes in the country.
After more than four decades of serenity, Taal has once again brought wrath and devastation as it erupted last January 12, 2020. Prompting people to evacuate away from the 14-km radius danger zone and later on was extended to 17-km danger zone.

EVACUATION. Residents of Talisay, Batangas were ordered mandatory evacuation as the volcano continuous to show sign of hazardous eruption in the next hours or days. Currently, Talisay is among the towns in Batangas with total lockdown policy because of its proximity to Taal Volcano,

For six consecutive days, the volcano is continuously releasing steam, ashes and smoke. Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology or PHIVOLCS has put Taal to alert level 4 or a hazardous eruption might occur within hours or days.
More than 90,000 individuals were affected by the eruption, while, around 70,000 people were being sheltered in 300 evacuation centers.

SAFE HAVEN. Affected individuals found refuge in different evacuation centers.

Affected people are increasing as more towns are being locked down and more people are forced to evacuate because of the danger being imposed by the volcano. Thousands of individuals are finding refuge to different evacuation centers in Batangas, Cavite and Laguna.
Most of them lack basic necessities like, food, clothes and toiletries. Lyceum of the Philippines University-Laguna through the Institutional Social Responsibility Office or ISRO has made an effort to reach out to these evacuees from various centers.
The institution’s HR Director, Aileen Balba, also coordinated with different centers and Local Government Units to confirm those who need immediate assistance and help.
The LPU Community with the help of different donors, Lyceans and organizations also distributed clothes, hygiene kits and mats.
The relief effort started when College of International Tourism and Hospitality Management spearheaded the feeding program for the evacuees. Administrators, students and alumni were quick to heed the call to feed thousands of hungry evacuees.
“The feeding program started on Monday and from then on, different organizations of LPU-Laguna and the LPU Student Council initiated to post for the call for donations.” uttered Angelica Acelar, Supervisor, Office of Student Affairs
And for five-straight days, CITHM students, alumni, and faculty members are continuously and wholeheartedly cooking food for thousands of evacuees. They said, this is not possible without the overwhelming donation and support from different sectors.
“As long as the donations keep on coming, we won’t stop to help those in need.” CITHM Student Council President, Karlo Salisi said.
As part of the relief operation, other colleges have also extended their help. College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), College of Business and Accountancy (CBA), College of Engineering and Computer Studies (COECS) and College of Allied Medicine (CAM) have divided the work loads from giving donations to repacking of relief goods to distributing it to different centers.

COLLECTIVE EFFORT. Student organizations have posted announcement seeking help and donations for Taal eruption victims. Picture courtesy of CAS Council and LSSC.

Student Organizations led by Lyceum Supreme Student Council also have their ways to help the victims of the eruption of Taal Volcano. Some organizations have posted in their official pages a call to donate and help. Lyceum Multimedia Arts Creative Society have launched their Art for a Cause. They will be accepting commissioned artworks and all the proceeds will be donated to the affected individuals.

ART FOR A CAUSE. LYMMACS is a group composed of Multimedia Arts students accepting commissioned artwork for the benefit of the victims of Taal eruption.

“Well, I cannot speak for them (Organizations and Councils) in regards of their reason/s but I am sure that the end goal of all of those work is to really help those who are in need. After all, we are still Filipinos with that so called bayanihan spirit” said LSSC President, Michael Algozo.
Communication alumni Kimry Gonzales, Keziah Montero along with Communicators’ Society were also able to raise monetary aid to be used to buy necessities for the victims.

THE WEIGHT OF HELPING. Keziah Montero (left) and Kimry Gonzales (Right) have collected money to purchase basic needs for the evacuees like slippers.

LPU Chairman Lorna Laurel donated sleeping mats. While the father-son tandem of President Peter Laurel and Dean Paolo Laurel paid a visit last January 15 to help and support the relief efforts of LPU-Laguna Community.
Sure enough, no disaster or calamity can break the Filipino Spirit! And during this depressing time, we are all witness to the power of hospitality, unity and collective effort to help those who are in need.
Small acts of kindness once put together will have a big impact to those who will receive it.
Taal is yet to calm down. But the desire of concerned citizen to uplift those who are down will continue to burn and pave a way to the immediate recovery of those affected.
After all, Batanguenos are barakos, they will rise from the ashes and be stronger than ever. — AA, JPS
For those who are interested to help, please refer to images below.

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