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Assistance from Malacañang: Bichara receives P50M more

By Mar S. Arguelles LEGAZPI CITY --- Albay Gov. Al Francis on Wednesday is thankful to President Rodrigo Duterte for the additional P50 million check which the President earlier promised duuring his visit here on Monday. “We are very thankful to the President for the cash assistance he extended to Albayanos,” Bichara said. Amber Mirandilla, regional director of Presidential Management Staff (PMS) of the Office of the President (OP) handed the check to Bichara at the latter’s office at the Albay Provincial Capitol here. Mirandilla said the fund would be used for food, sanitation and health services for the 21,950 families or 84,415 persons housed in 78 evacuation centers in the towns and cities affected by the Mayon volcano eruption. Relaying the instruction of the President, she said: “The President gave emphasis on the importance of providing the needs of the evacuees particularly food, sanitation, and health.” Earlier on Monday, the President turned over P20M to Bichara as an initial assistance for Mayon operations while another P5 million was given by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO. Data from the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Office (APSEMO) indicate that there are 21,950 families or 84,415 persons housed in 78 evacuation centers in in the towns of Malilipot, Bacacay, Sto Domingo, Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan including the cities of Tabaco, Ligao and Legazpi. Bichara said all in all we have about P75 million financial assistance coming from President Duterte, this would be spendt to buy rice and other food items. He said the funds that the province received would only be good for a month saying that the provincial government is spending P200 a day per family, this is equivalent to P4.4 million a day. Bichara said it needs to spend about P140 million a month to sustain the food requirements of thousands of families seeking shelter in various evacuation camps. Bichara when asked what would happen when Mayon volcano restive state continue for months and funds get exhausted he said on the recommendation of Phivolcs and when the volcano’s abnormalities wane the plan is to decamp evacuees living in the 8th and 9th-kilometer danger zone. “This scenario would save us money for food and other services-- in case our funds get exhausted then we will cry again for assistance,” Bichara said. Citing the 1984 eruption where it evacuated some 84,000 people stayed for 6 months in various evacuation centers. While during eruptions in the 90s and to the present evacuees would stay for 2 to 4 months, Bichara said. Mayon Volcano today erupted twice at 9:52 AM and 11:56 AM Wednesday, sending ash clouds that drifted towards the towns of Camalig, and Guinobatan. Meanwhile, Instruments of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) has observe significant rise in volcanic quakes, gas emission and sustained inflated edifice which according to volcanologist are signs of magma intrusion at Mayon Volcano’s crater. Phivolcs instruments recorded for the past 24-hour observation period a total of 298 volcanic earthquakes jolted the volcano, this number is more than the 190 quakes recorded on Tuesday. Sulfur gas emission also significantly surged measuring at 3,428 tonnes/day on Tuesday higher than the 1,916 tonnes/day recorded the other day. The volcano on Tuesday belched lava and pyroclastic flow that produced a 1,250 meter-high ash cloud that drifted southwest affecting the towns of Daraga, Camalig and this city. Sluggish lava effusion was observed Tuesday night until early morning of Wednesday that flowed on the Miisi and Bonga gullies in Daraga and in this city. Earlier Renato Solidum Usec of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST and concurrent Phivolcs director explained that the low frequency quakes observed lately indicates that magma is intruding at the volcano’s vent generating large volume of lava and pyroclastic materials emitted by the volcano . Solidum asked what to expect in the coming days following the pattern of previous eruption events, it could possibly be a “Strombolian” type of eruption. He said the Strombolian type is characterized by consistent lava fountaining and pyroclastic blasts and flows for about2 to 3 hours. But the overall condition of Mayon remains in a restive state where all parameters for an eruptive event are still taking place.

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