Marcos hands out P50 million in employment aid to Mayon evacuees
LEGAZPI CITY, Albay, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. personally distributed on Wednesday about P50 million worth of assistance for the emergency employment of thousands of families displaced by Mayon Volcano’s restiveness in seven towns and cities in Albay.
Marcos handed the checks to the mayors of Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan, Malilipot, Santo Domingo, Ligao City, and Tabaco City They would be used for the benefit of 5,016 families — a total of 17,941 persons — in evacuation centers.
Ma. Zenaida Campita, director of the Department of Labor and Employment in the Bicol Region, said the evacuees would be given work under the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (Tupad) program.
The jobs include vegetable gardening, assisting in the food preparation for the evacuees, and maintaining the evacuation sites.
The Tupad program would give P365 per day to each worker for 30 days.
During a situation briefing at the Albay Astrodome here, Marcos said the national government should immediately take over in giving support to the evacuees and not wait until the quick response fund of the province and the local government units (LGUs) gets depleted.
“Let us not wait for 14 days. Let us not deplete the budget of the LGUs. If we need to take over, let’s take over. We will take the load of the province and municipalities because [their budget] is very limited,” Marcos said.
“I am here to personally talk to you (evacuees) and check your needs,” Marcos added.
He said the Department of Science and Technology had estimated that the evacuees from the 6-kilometer radius of the volcano might have to stay in the shelters for “45 days up to 90 days.”
“Pray that Mayon’s eruption would end,” he said.
But should the situation last for as long as predicted, he said government agencies were preparing to help the evacuees.
Albay Gov. Edcel Greco Lagman earlier said the P30-million budget from the quick response would only be good for 14 days.
Lagman said, if the evacuees would stay for 90 days in the evacuation sites, the province would need P166,711,000 to sustain its needs, including food and non-food items.
Marcos advised the local officials to identify the priority areas that would need an immediate response.
Marcos also directed the concerned agencies to give livelihood to the families and provide intervention programs for the children while they were inside the evacuation sites.
Marcos landed at the Sports Complex in Guinobatan town past 4 p.m. and immediately headed to Guinobatan Community College in Barangay Mauraro — the site of the temporary shelter of families from Barangay Maninila — to distribute relief goods donated by India, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates.
Meanwhile, 57 families from Barangay Baligang in Ligao City who were evacuated to the Provincial Camp Site Evacuation Center received P5,000 cash assistance each on Wednesday through the initiative of House Speaker Martin Romualdez.
The cash aid was from funds appropriated through the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program.
Affected families from three barangays in Guinobatan — Maninila, Tandarura, and Muladbucad Grande — will also receive the P5,000 in cash each starting June 15.
Alert Level 3 remains hoisted over Mayon Volcano, which meant the possibility of an eruption.
According to the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office, as of Wednesday noon, 5,016 families — a total of 17,941 persons — were taking temporary shelter in evacuation centers and private households in seven towns and cities.