Nights of music, magic for Mayon evacuees
LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines—A month into living in temporary shelters and away from their homes and properties, evacuees in Albay province have soldiers to keep them from getting bored.
Uniformed men and government personnel have come to fill the days and nights with music, magic and games to ease the boredom in 46 shelters for the displaced residents from seven municipalities and cities as they await Mayon Volcano’s eruption.
“Too much boredom may result in tension and crime,” said Chief Insp. Pio Valencia, spokesperson and community relations officer of the provincial police.
Units under the Philippine National Police, Philippine Navy and Philippine Army organize “videoke” sessions, magic shows and nightly live concerts, and hire mascots to dance for children to keep their minds away from the restive volcano.
They have joined hands with social workers from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Albay and the provincial government to conduct the events.
Valencia said the performances had prevented the evacuees from leaving the shelters and returning to their houses within the 6-kilometer radius permanent danger zone at the foot of Mount Mayon. A curfew and liquor ban have been imposed in the shelters to prevent crimes or misbehavior.
The lawmen-turned-entertainers perform three-to-four-hour shows in the evacuation centers, Valencia said. Three teams, including a police band, are accompanied by street magicians and mascots.
PO2 Rex Bordeos of the Tabaco City Police does magic tricks in the city’s evacuation center, according to Insp. Malu Calubaquib, spokesperson of the Bicol police.
Maria Mercedes Verga, administrative officer of the Albay Park and Wildlife in Legazpi, said the 26-member team from the provincial government was working with the policemen and soldiers and had provided the mascots created for festivals and street parades in the province.
These embody the symbols of the region, such as the “pili,” Mayon, “kamote” and “sili,” alongside the “kalaw” and “uranggutan,” Verga said.
The nightly entertainment fare, which include videoke sessions, starts at 4 p.m.
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