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Decampment of Mayon evacuees outside PDZ in Albay, purely voluntary

LEGAZPI CITY (PIA) — Albay Governor Edcel Grex Lagman initiated the consultation meeting with the mayors of Sto. Domingo and Guinobatan to discuss their reasons for evacuating their constituents from the 7 to 8 km Extended Danger Zone (EDZ) of Mayon on June 21, Wednesday.

Some mayon evacuees residing within the  EDZ of Sto. Domingo, Albay conformed to Mayor Joseling ‘Jun’ Aguas Jr.'s order to decamp on June 20, Tuesday.

Said order was pursuant to the request of Lagman to allow the evacuees to go home.

‘’May I respectfully request and urge the Local Government of Sto. Domingo to allow the current evacuees composed of 1, 688 families or 5,473 persons to return to their residences for the time being,’’ Lagman cited in his letter addressed to Aguas dated June 19.

AGREEMENT | Albay Governor Edcel Grex Lagman [right side] invites Guinobatan Mayor Paul Chino Garcia [left] and Sto. Domingo Mayor Joseling 'Jun' Aguas Jr. for a consultation meeting regarding the evacuation of residents outside the 6km Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) on June 21, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Gov. Lagman)


Lagman noted that those who voluntarily decamped remain under ‘’evacuee status.’’

‘’This means that all of them will still be receiving the same kind of assistance such as food packs, vegetable rations, free medical care, livelihood and training programs and all “ayuda” [aid] coming from both the local and national government that evacuees are entitled to,’’ Lagman said.

‘’I am very thankful to the governor because even though they have returned to their homes, their status is still considered evacuees meaning they can still claim the benefits which is very good,’’ Aguas said in vernacular.

Thirty percent (30 %) of evacuees in Sto. Domingo already decamped, Lagman announced.

‘’Before the meeting the Gov. said that we will not force the evacuees to decamp. This is purely voluntary, for those who want [to decamp] we will assist them,’’ Aguas said.

''This is just a way to decongest  the evacuation centers and of course because the comfort in ttheir home is still diffirent. Of course it is their judgement call if they feel safe (or unsafe) in their area,'' he added.

Evacuees stay

Meanwhile, there will be no decampment of evacuees outside the Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) in Guinobatan.

‘’The exercise of [Guinobatan Mayor Paul Chino Garcia] his executive discretion was reasonable citing the topography of residential areas outside the PDZ whose residents he evacuated as they were exposed to real danger,’’ Lagman said.

Lagman highlighted that Garcia’s decision of evacuating the residents outside the PDZ was justified because its two barangays  are in between the two gullies of Mayon, which  increases the risks for affected residents.

He urged the local government chief executive to comply with the minimum and consensus building standards.

‘’This will prevent confusion when they decide to undertake evacuation protocols which are different from those endorsed by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS),’’ Lagman noted.

Based on the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (APSEMO) monitoring report as of Wed. June 21, a total of 5,708 families or 19,959 were evacuated from the cities of Ligao and Tabaco and municipalities of Malilipot, Sto. Domingo, Daraga, Camalig, and Guinobatan. There have been no documented cases of evacuees originating from Legazpi City and the municipality of Bacacay, Albay.

On Thursday, June 22, PHIVOLCS has recorded 299 rockfall events and eight (8) dome collapse; 574 tonnes of sulfur dioxide flux a day on June 21, very slow effusion of lava flow with 2.5km and 1.8km and 3.3km lava collapse from the crater along the Mi-isi and Bonga Gullies of Mayon Volcano. (PIA5/Albay) 

Cover photo courtesy of: Mayor Jun Aguas

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Cyryl Montales

Writer PIA/Albay

Region 5

Amor Fati

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