On Sunday, January 12, the Philippines’ Taal Volcano, located just south of Metro Manila erupted, setting people in a frenzy as ash fall covered thousands of houses. The country is still on high alert, bracing for another possible explosion.
While it continues to spew out ash and as earthquakes shake nearby provinces, residents close to the crater have evacuated their homes. Relief efforts are on high gear, with many pooling donations for those affected by the disaster.
However, three young men who offered their services to one of these initiatives also experienced their own tragedy. Just hours after helping evacuees in Batangas province on Tuesday, Rio Abel, Maximino Alcantara, and Darwin Lajara, died in a car accident on their way home, CNN Philippines reported.
According to a police report, the men, who were all in their 20's, hit a trailer truck as they were driving along village Banaybanay 1 in San Jose Town, Batangas at 1:30 a.m.
Abel and Alcantara were declared dead on the spot. Meanwhile, Lajara, who was rushed to a hospital immediately after the incident, died on Wednesday morning while being treated.
The volunteers were on their way home when the Mitsubishi Lancer Alcantara was driving on the southbound lane accidentally bumped the left rear portion of an Isuzu Tractor Head, which was then entering a gate of a nearby establishment, The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.
Condolences poured on social media after news broke of their passing. Friends, relatives, and netizens hailed the heroism they showed in sending relief to victims of the eruption.
According to the Philippines’ National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, 53,000 people have been displaced by the Taal Volcano’s eruption, while over 40,000 residents remain in evacuation centres in the provinces of Batangas and Cavite.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) continues to warn Filipinos to stay out of the danger zone, which is a 14-kilometre radius from the crater that is at high risk of being affected by volcanic matter. Despite the volcano being in a “lull” state, ash plumes around 500 to 800 metres high were observed early today. Meanwhile, a total of 566 volcanic earthquakes have been monitored since the eruption.