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State of calamity declared in Albay as Mayon Volcano unrest continues; Evacuation on going

By Sally Altea

LEGAZPI CITY --- The Sangguniang Panlalawigan has declared the province of Albay under State of Calamity to enable the local government units to mobilize its resources for Mayon Volcano emergency response operations.

In a special session today, members of the Sanggunian Panlalawigan unanimously approved the said resolution authored by Board Member Denisse Misolania.

“There is a need to declare a state of calamity to enable the local governemnt units to utilize their calamity fund for disaster response operations and the local government units to perform other related emergency functions for disaster avoidance,” the resolution stated.

Relative to this, the Sanggunian likewise approved the resolution authorizing Albay Gov. Edcel Lagman to utilize the quick response fund to enable the provincial government to mobilize its resources for disaster preparedness and emergency response.

Albay declared in a special session today the province of Albay under State of Calamity to enable the local government units to utlize their calamity fund for Mayon Volcano emergency response.

During the deliberation, Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (APSEMO) Officer-in-Charge and Research Division Chief Eugene Escober said that P42 million has been allotted as the quick response fund of the province.

He proposed that the P30M to be used for Mayon emergency response and the remaining P12M to be allotted as a stand-by fund for possible future disasters.

“We will only allocate P30M for the Mayon Volcano eruption. We are now entering the typhoon season,” he said.

“The 30 million will only suffice for 10 days. It is too inadequate but we cannot exhaust the entire fund in one calamity, for Mayon Volcano. We are anticipating the complex disaster wherein there is the volcanic eruption, coupled with typhoons that might happen,” he added.

In its advisory on the raising of Mayon Voclano to Alert Level 3, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has recommended immediate evacuation of the population in the 6-kilomer Permanent Danger Zone due to the danger of lava flows, rockfalls, pyroclastic density currents (PDCs) and other volcanic hazards.

Escober noted that from their previous response to the Mayon eruption, the evacuation usually lasts from two to three months and the longest is almost five months. Thus, the need to provide relief support to affected families.

He said that initially, some 4,700 families will be evacuated from the 6-km permanent danger zone. This may increase to about 40,000 individuals if it will be escalated to Alert Level 4.

With the province under State of Calamity, affected LGUs can also utilize their allotted quick response fund.

“As a matter of operational procedure, initially the local government units, the cities and municipalities will utilize also their quick respond fund to provide relief to the affected population,” he said.

“Once this is already consumed, the province will now provide support and once we have exhausted our resources, the national government will now enter,” Escober added.

The local DRRMCs started today the evacuation of the affected population. Part of these are barangays in the municipalities of Daraga, Guinobatan, Camalig, Sto Domingo and the cities of Ligao and Tabaco. (PIA5/Albay)


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