Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima today said she is offering special prayers for the thousands of people who fled to safety as Mayon Volcano in Albay, Bicol continues to spew lava and ash columns. De Lima, who grew up in Iriga, Camarines Sur, Bicol, said her thoughts and prayers are with the families who have been forced to evacuate their homes even as she remained optimistic about the resilience of her fellow Bicolanos.
“My prayers go for the affected residents of Albay. I’m confident that the proven resilience and deep sense of faith among the people of Albay will help them go through this, as always in the past calamities,” she said.
“I’m also confident about the capability of the affected local government units in the area, foremost of which is the provincial government, in handling the situation, through their prompt and efficient response to any and all type of emergency,” she added.
Alert Level 4, which warns of an imminent hazardous eruption “within hours or days”, remains hoisted over the region as the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reported “increased seismic unrest, lava fountaining, and summit explosions” in the area.
It also advised the public to remain vigilant and desist from entering near the danger zone which the provincial government has extended to nine kilometers from the previous eight.
De Lima also underscored the importance of ensuring the immediate safety of these evacuees, especially among the national and local agencies who are tasked to address the complex needs and requirements of people affected by disasters.
“The safety and well-being of the residents are our primary concerns and I trust that relevant national agencies promptly give needed assistance to the LGUs,” she said.
In a message written in Bicol dialect, De Lima has this to say to her fellow Bicolanos: “It is my fervent hope that you find more strength and courage to overcome this challenge. I believe that similar to past natural disasters which hounded our region, this too shall pass. I know that what you are going through is difficult, however, please remain strong and believe that we can recover immediately.”
Some 48,614 individuals – or a total of 12,214 families – have been evacuated from 39 affected barangays in the municipalities/cities of Camalig, Guinobatan, Ligao City, Daraga, Tabaco City, Malilipot, Santo Domingo (Libog), and Legazpi City in the Province of Albay (Region V).
To date, there are 7,455 families or 28,846 persons who are currently being served inside the 29 designated evacuation centers (ECs), while, 1,518 families or 6,850 persons are served outside ECs.