Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Church leader calls for adoption of Mayon affected families to decongest evacuation centers
By Manilyn Ugalde

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 17 (PNA) -- With the ongoing forced evacuation, the Diocese of Legazpi also called for what it calls a “zero evacuee” goal by appealing to Albay families not affected by Mayon to adopt threatened families in an effort to decongest evacuation centers.

Diocesian head Bishop Joel Baylon noted that evacuees are cramped inside evacuation centers, and that they have to deal with potential diseases.

With the about-12,000 families daringly staying at the Mayon danger zone, many of them inside the declared 6-kilometer-radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) -- known as the “no man's land,” local officials have started evacuating them.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported on Tuesday that 12,555 families inside the Mayon PDZ would be evacuated after the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised Alert Level 3 from Alert Level 2 due to imminent Mayon eruption.

The Phivolcs emphasized that the 6-km-radius PDZ is a no man's land and that no human activity inside should take place.

The 10,555 families inside the PDZ involve 51,625 people in 65 barangays in the 7-8-km extended high risk zone.

Albay Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda said the provincial government will be spending Php 1.6 million a day for rice alone for the 12,555 families and this excludes water, saying the problem may last for 140 days or a minimum of 100 days based on past experiences.

“I hope by Christmas, Mayon's activity will have subsided so that the victims can enjoy Christmas in their homes," he said.

Salceda said there will be a 24-hour curfew inside the PDZ and the expanded danger zone and anyone seen inside will be arrested.

"We expect to complete the evacuation of the 12,000 in 24 hours, starting Tuesday," he said.

A state of calamity have been declared in the areas composed of the cities of Legazpi, Ligao and Tabaco and the towns of Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan, Sto Domingo, Malilipot, and Bacacay.

A Phivolcs report said Mayon registered 45 quakes and 270 rockfalls during the past 24- hour observation period ending 8 a.m Wednesday, with magma at the crater and crater glow visible at night time.

It expects a hazardous eruption within weeks.

Legazpi City Councilor Alan Rañola said it is indeed a surprise that every time there is a threat of Mayon eruption, reports of scores of settlers inside the Mayon PDZ always surfaces even if these people have already been provided houses in resettlement areas since more than 20 years ago.

He said the returning settlers uses livelihood as reason for their return but this can be avoided if local government leaders, including barangay officials, exert political will to enforce the law.

He suggested that a penalty should be imposed on anyone entering the PDZ.(PNA)