By Connie Calipay
LEGAZPI CITY – The Albay Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) or (Provincial Board) has approved in last Friday’s special session a resolution declaring the entire province under a state of calamity due to the increasing restiveness of Mayon Volcano.
Vice Governor Baby Glenda Bongao, SP presiding officer, said the declaration is needed to enable the affected local government units (LGUs) to utilize their calamity funds for disaster response.
In its Partial Evecuation Report, the Albay Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) said 4,390 families or 16,823 people from 51 barangays have fled the threatened areas.
Affected areas are the cities of Legazpi, Tabaco and Ligao and the municipalities of Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan, Malilipot, Bacacay and Sto. Domingo. Mayon’s Alert Level 3 remains in effect.
Corollary with the State of Calamity declaration, the Albay SP has also authorized Governor Edcel Greco Lagman to utilize the calamity funds of the province for disaster emergency response.
“We will be allocating at least P30 million from our Quick Response Fund (QRF) for Mayon Volcano. If we allocate our full QRF, it is difficult since it’s only P42 million,” Lagman said.
Albay Public Safety Emergency Management Office (APSEMO) research division chief Eugene Escobar said the P30 million QRF will be “supplemented by funds from 70% of the national disaster risk reduction management fund and other sources from the provincial government. That is why we have the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and other national agencies that will be assisting us,” he explained.
Escobar noted that their P30-million QRF will be good only for 10 to 14 days of relief operations for the affected families.