Albay town mayor tells 5.4K Mayon evacuees to decamp
By Connie Calipay
LEGAZPI CITY --- The mayor of Sto. Domingo in Albay province has ordered the 1,588 families, or 5,419 individuals, who have been staying in various evacuation centers in the town for the past three months due to the effusive eruption of Mayon Volcano, to return home.
In an interview on Friday, Mayor Joseling Aguas said Mt. Mayon is still under Alert Level 3 but has been showing decreasing signs of restiveness in the past two weeks, based on the monitoring of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).
“Lahat po decamp na natin effective today. We’re all just making some reminders and preparations. Hindi naman po dahil decamp na, hindi na tayo ready sa mga possible na mangyayari (Everyone should decamp effective today. We’re just making some reminders and preparations. It does not mean that just because we’re decamping, we’re no longer ready for what might happen),” he said.
Aguas noted that the evacuees are from the villages of Lidong, Fidel Surtida, Sta. Misericordia, and San Fernando, which are outside the 6-km. permanent danger zone (PDZ).
He, however, said those who do not want to go back to their houses may stay in the evacuation center.
“Wala pong problema kung may nangangamba (There is no problem if there are those who are still afraid). We are giving them all the freedom to stay,” he said.
Aguas said because their town is near the foot of Mt. Mayon, its residents have become resilient to Mayon’s activities.
Residents are, however, always advised not to enter the PDZ and to be prepared for ash fall, lava flow, and pyroclastic density currents, which may occur at any time, he said.
The families were sent off with a sack of rice each and food packs.
Meanwhile, in a separate interview, Albay Public Safety Emergency Management Office (APSEMO) chief, Dr. Cedric Daep, said they support the mayor’s decision to send the evacuees back to their homes.
“We don’t have opposition on that matter. The local chief executive has the authority to decamp,” Daep said.
As of Friday, APSEMO records show that a total of 3,922 families or 13,872 individuals affected by Mt. Mayon’s unrest are still staying in 33 evacuation centers and private houses in the towns of Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan, and Malilipot and the cities of Tabaco and Ligao. (PNA)