Salceda appeals to nat’l gov’t: Please be patient as Mayon activity can be weeks, months
MANILA, Philippines — Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda has appealed to national government agencies to be patient in assisting the province’s residents amid Mayon Volcano’s restiveness could last for weeks or months.
Salceda, in a statement on Tuesday said that the government’s support to residents of Albay, where the volcano is located, would be crucial. He said that based on experience, it could be anywhere between 45 to 90 days or even 110 days.
“Historically, the scenarios are 45, 90, or 110 days. It could, of course, get even longer than that. This will be a waiting game. Until an explosive eruption happens, or the alert level goes down, we can’t really do much other than evacuate and wait,” he said.
“So, this will really require stamina and patience. I am sure President (Ferdinand) Marcos (Jr.) and the national government will have the patience to see this through. But the economic disruption will also be significant,” he added.
According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC), at least 14,000 individuals in Albay’s six municipalities have been evacuated in the wake of Mayon’s activity.
Salceda said this includes around 5,000 farmers whose work have been affected already — which necessitates the national government’s aid, like their cash-for-work program.
“So, apart from evacuation and relief support, we will need support with economic displacement. Cash-for-work will be crucial, because we will also need manpower to clean and maintain evacuation centers,” he explained.
“I have already requested for DOLE-TUPAD support from Speaker (Ferdinand Martin) Romualdez, who has assured us that he will do whatever he can to provide what Albay needs to endure this situation. He has already given us very significant assistance. We are very thankful,” he added.
According to NDRRMC, the 14,376 families have been placed in 22 evacuation centers. Salceda meanwhile added that as of Tuesday morning, 4,286 families or 15,241 individuals are staying in Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan, Santo Domingo, Malilipot, and Bacacay towns, and Ligao and Tabaco cities.
However, the lawmaker believes this number would increase further — to around 37,100 individuals.
In a briefing in Malacañang earlier, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian said the government is mulling the provision of financial assistance to thousands of families in evacuation centers.
Gatchalian said that this is because the food packs may not be enough. The DSWD chief also said he is in constant communication with Governor Grex Lagman on how to distribute the cash assistance.
Salceda said they are thankful to Gatchalian and the rest of DSWD.
“Secretary Gatchalian was the very first head of agency to assure us that they can manage a protracted situation. And we are very thankful. We welcome President Marcos’s visit because this situation will require more than just food relief,” he said.
“This will also require economic displacement support from DOLE, medical, hygiene, and psychosocial support from DOH, police presence, emergency and water provision from DILG, among others,” he added.
Mayon Volcano has been placed on Alert Level 3 due to heightened activities like rock falls and steaming — both of which can be an indication of increased magma flow to the crater.
Over the past few days, observers have monitored lava coming out of Mayon’s famous near-perfect cone, sending people into sleepless nights.