top of page

BBM wants Mayon ‘no man’s land’ cleared

By Manly M. Ugalde

LEGAZPI CITY --- President Ferdinand R. Marcos wants to decongest the Mayon 6 kilometers Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) from any human activity as he saw the danger of the active and erratic Mayon volcano. The President visited Legazpi on June 14 to personally see the situation of the thousands of evacuees in designated evacuation centers.

Phivolcs had placed Mayon for months-long alert level 1. On June 5 it placed Mayon under alert level 2, and suddenly raised to alert level 3 days later, prompting evacuation rush of residents inside the 6-km PDZ.

The National Disaster Risks Reduction and Management Council said the present administration aims to empty the Mayon PDZ of inhabitants on a long-term agenda to stop once and for all the rush of evacuating thousands of families inside the PDZ every time Mayon erupts that usually last in evacuation centers between 2 to 3 months..

The government had long declared the Mayon 6-km PDZ as a no man’s land with the provincial government of Albay tasked to enforce the law. Despite of the law, however, it appears the PDZ remain inhabited, worse, multiplying in numbers.

It will be recalled that President Fidel Ramos had strongly reminded Albay local executives about Mayon PDZ as a “no man’s land” and should therefore be decongested from human. President Ramos was in Legazpi following the 1993 unexpected Mayon eruption that killed 79 farmers noontime under an excellent weather condition. Phivolcs had asserted that the February 1993 explosive sudden eruption did not register even an inch of Mayon instability at the Mayon Monitoring radar.

Unknown to President Marcos visit on June 14, however, decongestion of the Mayon 6-km PDZ have long been started by the Legazpi City government, with residents of the Legazpi 5 affected barangays no longer included among evacuees in evacuation centers that houses more than 5000 families from the 6-km PDZ, driven by Mayon ongoing eruptions dubbed by Phivolcs as effusive eruptions.

Speaking his name be withheld for lack of authority to talk, a source said that so far, only Legazpi City had succeeded in decongesting the barangays of its 5 barangays inside the 6-km PDZ. These are Barangays Mabinit, Bonga, Padang, Matanag and Buyuan where the 79 farmers were trapped dead during the 1993 eruption.

Then President Ramos urged the local executives of Albay to clear the 6-km Mayon PDZ from any inhabitants, citing the danger of Mayon that exhibits erratic behavior, however, closer eruptions interval after the 1993 eruption. Before the1993 eruption, Mayon had recorded eruptions interval of 10 years. Ramos poured millions of funds for the relocation of residents from the PDZ including housing assistance, to decongest the PDZ he dubbed as no man’s land.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology declared that the possibility to raise Mayon alert level to 4 remain strong, that it considers evacuating residents in 30 barangays around Mayon.

Marcos lauded the efforts of the local government executives in evacuating more than 4,000 families in a span of three days.

Gov. Greco Lagman announced earlier that close to 10, 000 domesticated animals such as carabao, cows and hogs have to be evacuated also in designated livestock centers.

On Tuesday (June 21) Lagman ordered more than 8,000 evacuees from the towns of Sto. Domingo (5,473) and Guinobatan (2,972) housed in evacuation centers after they were found residents outside the 6-km PDZ. They should not be in evacuation centers allocated for the families from the affected 6-km PDZ, the fuming Lagman was quoted as saying as he sent letters to the mayors of Sto. Domingo and Guinobatan towns to send home their constituents.

In her Ulat sa Bayan on June 16, Legazpi Mayor Geraldine Rosal mentioned among others that evacuation centers occupying residents from the 6-km PDZ assisted with free meals daily and cash assistance from the national government, do not include anymore those residents of 5 Legazpi City affected barangays, explaining they have long been relocated. Rosal said her office is ready to evacuate residents inside the 7-km expanded PDZ once the Phivolcs says so.

Interviewed by phone, former Gov. Noel Rosal said that the relocation of residents at the 6-KM PDZ began following the 2018 Mayon eruption when he was the city mayor.

Rosal explained that he was a barangay chairman when Mayon suddenly erupted in 1993 without any signs of Mayon instability. The eruption had killed 79 farmers and injured hundreds more from the five Legazpi barangays inside the 6-km PDZ.

It will be recalled that then Gov. Romo Salalima had filed a class suit against Phivolcs director Raymundo Punongbayan for the Phivolcs failure to issue warning about Mayon abnormal activity that led to the surprised February 1993 eruption and crashed to death 79 farmers. Punongbayan claimed that Mayon did not register even an inch of instability at the Mayon Monitoring Radar when it exploded in 1993.

President Fidel Ramos immediately cleared Punongbayan from any culpability that he even blamed the governor and LGU executives concern for failing to clear the 6-km PDZ which he said had long been decreed as a no man’s land.

As this developed, Phivolcs director Teresito Bacolcol explained that under alert level 3, Mayon eruption is in a a continuing eruption mood, however, silent and slow, warning a greater possibility for alert level 4.


bottom of page