Plan to lighten up Mayon faces objection
The Majestic Mayon Volcano Lighting Project will complement the different development plans of the Duterte administration for the Bicol region: the Philippine National Railway’s Bicol Express Line, the Bicol International Airport, the proposed Quezon-Bico] Expressway, and the proposed Legazpi International Cruise Terminal Port. His excellency, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte could inaugurate the Majestic Mayon project even before 2022. The economic boom generated will thus result in an increase of business opportunities in Hotels, Transportation, Restaurants, Tours and Sightseeing, Local Products and offered Activities and Experiences.
Also in comparison to other lighted structures in the world such as the Eiffel Tower in France and the Burj Khalifa in the United Arab Emirates, the Mayon Volcano at 2,463 meters and can be seen from as far as 177 Kilometers away dwarfs both the Eiffel tower which only stands at a mere 341 meters and can only be seen from a limited viewing distance of 40 Kilometers maximum within Paris. Mayon Volcano’s Natural God-Given Beauty on a huge and grand scale is incomparable against a relatively tiny artificial structure such as the Eiffel Tower and the Burj Khalifa.
LEGAZPI CITY --- Scientists and environmentalists have expressed caution over the multi-million project to lighten-up Mount Mayon volcano saying it would in a way affect the environment and the nocturnal animals living at the surrounding of the volcano.
Albay residents similarly has strongly objected to the project saying that the funds would better be used for other development projects that would improve the economic and social condition of the province.
Ako Bicol Party List (AKB) has proposed to undertake a project that would light-up the 2,463 meters high Mount Mayon volcano.
AKB on October 31, 2018, has asked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for a formal endorsement that it has “NO Objections” to the installation of the laser and lights fixture which will be constructed outside of the 6-kilometer Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ).
The certification is part of the requirements for the project to proceed, the letter says.
The letter was signed by AKB Rep. Rodel Batocabe, Alfredo Garbin and Christopher Co.
The project according to AKB is a milestone project that would further boost tourism in Bicol by way of setting up spotlights in the volcano to light up and accentuate the magnificent slopes of the mountain.
The AKB claims that by lighting up Mayon volcano it will “spark” economic activities in the region particularly it will attract private investors to do business in Albay.
This project was introduced and endorsed also at an administration political rally on April at the Albay Astrodome here.
Meanwhile in a recent media gathering, Eduardo Laguerta resident volcanologist of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) in an interview admitted that a similar letter was received by his office he however, advised the AKB to proceed with the project it is a must that it holds consultation with the proper government agencies, environmentalist, stakeholders and the public.
Laguerta said “this is a precarious project that would affect the environment, particularly its nocturnal animals that live along the slopes of the volcano.”
He said the mounting opposition to the project calls for a thorough public consultation to include the departments of Environment, Tourism, OCD, Phivolcs and local government units.
The DENR said the project needs to be studied as the Mt. Mayon Natural Park (MMNP) one of the wonders of the world is a protected area proclaimed under RA11038 or ENIPAS Act has an existing Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) which has management authority over the area.
Atty. Antonio Abawag the former DENR Regional Executive Director in his letter to AKB has referred the project to the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) in Albay for consultation and discussion with members of the MMNP-PAMB.
As this developed Albay Gov. Al Francis Bichara in an interview said he would “toe the line” on the sentiments of the majority of his constituents strongly opposing the planned project to light-up Mayon Volcano.
Bichara said though considering the views of the public he would still asked the recommendations of environment officials including other stakeholders.
“We need to consult and get the sentiments of the people and authorities,” he said.
Responding to this controversy, Bichara told the Inquirer that he has already asked Ako Bicol (AKB) Party List President Elizaldy Co to put on hold the P500 million lighting project because of the stir, it has created.
According to Bichara, his request was positively taken by Co as the latter agreed to conduct a survey and public consultation.
The controversial project that recently took center stage triggering a wide range of opposition from netizens in the social and mainstream media was a test case to get the sentiments of the people, Bichara has quoted Co’s response.
Asked if he would endorse the project Bichara said “I have other priority project in line for the province.”
Dorothy Colle, Albay Provincial Tourism Chief in a text message said “I am aware of the plan but it needs consultations from all stakeholders. It’s premature for me to give statements pending discussions.”
Merlita Tariman, a freelance journalist said lighting up Mt Mayon is one of the craziest, pettiest, ill-conceived proposals I’ve ever come across. “Pailawan mo ang mga pobreng kabahayan, hindi iyang bulkan at kagubatan.”
Imagine our province which suffers from the most outrageous power outages today would like to light up hectares of forest, while it cannot even sufficiently electrify its towns and cities; cannot even complete construction of its int’l airport for years now; cannot even push faster the operation of its dreamt modern seaport in Pantao for decades now; cannot even build good farm-to-market roads? Susme!
Lawyer Dominador Barrameda retired city prosecutor said “Don’t mess with Mayon’s natural beauty. It’s God-given.”
Marcial Tuanqui, former Albay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) President said the AKB project to light up Mayon Volcano is not a worthwhile project the Albayanos needs to be consulted; the project is not for the best interest; the funds to be used there be better use to light the barangay roads & other priority government projects.
He said because it is expensive it’s a waste of government funds, a craze, and unnecessary project.
“Mayon Volcano is best appreciated to be seen in its natural beauty be it in a day or night time,” Tuanqui said.
Location of Circumferential Sky Tracker Spotlights and Multicolored Lasers outside of6-Km Permanent Danger Zone (First Phase)