Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr assures funds, food packs ready amid Mayon unrest

2023 June 10

PERILOUS BEAUTY. Mt. Mayon in Legazpi City, Albay province at 7 p.m. on Friday (June 9, 2023), as released by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. The volcano’s increased activities this week prompted the provincial board of Albay to place the entire province under a state of calamity. (Photo courtesy of Phivolcs)

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MANILA – Government funds and food packs are available for those who will be affected by the possible eruption of Mayon Volcano, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said on Saturday.

Marcos made the assurance after Albay province was placed under a state of calamity on Friday as Mayon increased its abnormal activities.

In a Facebook post, the President urged affected residents to heed the instructions and directives of their local government officials to ensure their safety.

“Sa pagsasailalim sa probinsya ng Albay sa state of calamity dahil sa pag-aalburoto ng Bulkang Mayon, pinapaalalahanan ang ating mga kababayang Bikolano na sumunod lamang sa mga rekomendasyon at evacuation instructions ng inyong lokal na pamahalaan upang masiguro ang kaligtasan ng bawat isa (With the declaration of a state of calamity in Albay due to Mayon Volcano’s restiveness, we are reminding Bicolano residents to follow the recommendation and evacuation instructions of your local officials to ensure everyone’s safety),” he said.

He said residents who are within the 6-km. radius permanent danger zone are being evacuated.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), he added, is on standby with assistance and support for the evacuees.

The department has PHP114 million worth of Quick Response Fund, PHP5 million in standby fund, and 179,000 family food packs (FPPs) in Disaster Response Centers.

Apart from DSWD, concerned agencies, such as the Office of Civil Defense, the departments of agriculture, health, and environment, as well as the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), are in constant communication, Marcos said.

The DSWD has also readied a PHP67.8-million fund and 814,758 FFPs in other field offices to support the relief needs of areas affected by Mayon’s seismic activities.

About PHP1.04 billion worth of other food and non-food items are also available at the National Resource Operations Center in Pasay City, Visayas Disaster Resource Center, and DSWD field offices’ warehouses.

Mayon remains on Alert Level 3 with “a possibility of a hazardous eruption.”

Data from the Albay Public Safety Emergency Management Office showed 4,390 families or 16,823 individuals from nine municipalities namely, Camalig, Daraga, Guinobatan, Ligao City, Malilipot, Tabaco City, Sto. Domingo, Bacacay and Legazpi City, are affected.

Another 40,000 individuals are set to be evacuated from the 7-km extended danger zone if Mayon’s status is escalated to Alert Level 4.

Phivolcs said possible hazards that can occur are rockfalls, landslides or avalanches; ballistic fragments; lava flows and lava fountaining; pyroclastic density currents; and moderate-sized explosions.

Alert Level 3, according to Phivolcs, means magma is near or at the surface, and activity could lead to hazardous eruption in weeks. Occurrence of low-frequency earthquakes, volcanic tremor, and rumbling sounds are also likely.

Danger zones may be expanded up to eight kilometers from the active crater.

Meanwhile, due to the state of calamity, the Department of Energy announced Saturday a price freeze for household liquefied petroleum gas in cylinders (11 kilograms and below) and kerosene products in Albay.

Price increases are prohibited but rollbacks are allowed.

It will be in effect for 15 days since the declaration, or until June 23.

Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos (PNA)