Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Soldiers, villagers play hide and seek
By Nancy Ibo Mediavillo

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 18 (PNA) -- Endless "hide and seek" is the name of the game for soldiers and villagers who have kept on going back to their residences or farms within the six-kilometer-radius permanent danger zone.

Men of Col. Raul Farnacio, commanding officer of the 901st Infantry Brigade based in Villahermosa, Daraga, Albay, are full of stories of their experiences of hard-headed villagers who have been going back and forth to their residences and properties in no-human activity zone since Day 3 of their operation.

"My men have been untirely and closely guarding the restricted areas but their brushes with the evacuees, especially at the early morning of the day, have been full of fun every time they encounter the farmers who insist on going inside the six-km-radius PDZ," Farnacio narrated.

The men get all forms of convincing and alibi just to let the farmers enter their farms and harvest something to eat, he said.

Others' alibi would be their animals inside the PDZ.

Fernacio said most those persistent are in the part of Legazpi City because their farms are inside the PDZ.

There are also hard-headed farmers in the town of Sto. Domingo, Daraga and Camalig, he added.

Fernacio stressed that his men are just doing their duty for the residents' safety and to attain the zero-casualty goal of the province of Albay in wake of the impending Mayon eruption.

He said that sometimes, his men allow those with plausible reason, but only for a short time, especially those going within just the borderline of the six-km PDZ.

"But beyond that, they are already very strict," Farnacio added.

Sometimes, he said, his men bag some real hard-headed farmers who go farther inside the six-kilometer -radius PDZ.

In this connection, Fernacio said, he welcomes the request of provincial government officials to revalidate the markers of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology around the 6-km PDZ and the extended seven kilometers at the southeast portion of the volcano. (PNA) CTB/FGS/NIM/CBD/ssc