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Albay leaders are at odds over Mayon lighting plan

LEGAZPI CITY---Despite opposition from environmentalists in Albay, the lighting of Mount Mayon is still pushing through this year and it will be a game changer in Bicol tourism, Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal said during the celebration of Fiesta Tsinoy here recently.

Rosal said the lighting of Mount Mayon, which is being pushed by Ako Bicol partylist Rep. Elizaldy Co and Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara will go on as part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s “Build Build Build” program.

“The 2,463-meter high Mayon Volcano will be lit by laser and light fixtures for 10 minutes only every hour in the evening and will

be a grand attraction in Legazpi City and Albay province soon,” Rosal said before the members of Filipino-Chinese community during the Fiesta Tsinoy celebration held at Albay Astrodome on Sunday (Jan.26) afternoon here.

Rosal said that Mount Mayon is the icon of Bicol region, and lighting the highest peak in Southern Luzon will be the country’s first game changer in Philippines tourism.

“This will be a first in the Philippines and certainly to be a game changer in our tourism especially with the opening of Bicol International Airport this year,” the Legazpi mayor said.

“We have seen numerous iconic landmarks around the world being lit up at night in a wonderful display of lights and sounds, such as Niagara Falls in New York, Table Mountain in South Africa, the Great Pyramids of Giza, Eiffel Tower of Paris, Colosseum of Rome, Statue of Liberty of New York, and Burj Khalifa of Dubai,” Rosal said.

He said that the spotlights set up around Mayon will highlight its marvelous slopes.

For his part, Albay Gov. Al Francis Bichara said that due to growing opposition and concern that it will destroy the biodiversity in Mayon, advised the proponents of the project to put the plan on hold.

Eduardo “Ed” Laguerta, former Phivolcs resident volcanologist of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), said in a previous interview here that lighting Mayon volcano will affect its biodiversity.

Laguerta also advised the Ako Bicol to hold a consultation with the proper government agencies, environmentalists, the public, and other stakeholders before proceeding with the project.

But Rosal, concurrent chairman of the Regional Development Council in Bicol said that the lighting project of Mount Mayon will be pushed through.

Mt. Mayon Natural Park (MMNP) is one of the wonders of the world and a protected area under Republic Act 11038, or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (ENIPAS) Act of 2018. The Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) has management authority over the area.

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