Japan donates 300 MT of rice to locals affected by Mayon’s unrest

2023 August 15

Mayon Volcano under Alert Level 3.

MANILA – Japan is donating 300 metric tons of rice to support families affected by Mayon Volcano’s continuous unrest in the Bicol Region, the Japanese Embassy in Manila announced Tuesday.

The assistance, provided under the framework of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR), will be turned over during a ceremony in Camalig, Albay on Aug. 17.

Mayon Volcano remains under Alert Level 3, which means it is “currently in a relatively high level of unrest” and that hazardous eruption within weeks or even days “could still be possible.”

Latest data from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) showed that the eruption has already affected 9,876 families or 38,396 people in 26 barangays across the Bicol Region.

Some 5,371 or 18,801 people are staying inside 27 evacuation centers, while 418 families or 1,453 are seeking shelters outside of the evacuation center.

APTERR is a regional cooperation launched in 2012, which aims to strengthen food security, poverty alleviation and malnourishment eradication among its member countries.

To accomplish its common goal, the APTERR parties have agreed to establish rice stocks to assist member countries in times of large-scale natural disasters.

“Japan, as the biggest contributor of APTERR rice in the Philippines, has always been ready to lend a helping hand during trying times,” the Embassy said in a statement.

Several thousands of tons of stockpiled rice from Japan under APTERR have been distributed to previous typhoon victims in the Philippines, including during Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, Typhoon Ineng in 2015, Typhoon Jenny in 2019, and Typhoon Odette in 2022, among others.

Japan also provided 425 metric tons of rice to households affected by the Taal Volcano eruption in 2020 and pre-cooked rice to families affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 in Quezon City, Manila, and some parts of Bulacan and Cavite in 2021.

The turnover ceremony for the fresh aid will be led by Japanese Embassy Economic Affairs Minister Daisuke Nihei together with officials from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Agriculture, National Food Authority, APTERR Secretariat, and Albay provincial government.

Joyce Ann L. Rocamora (PNA)