PERILOUS BEAUTY. Mt. Mayon in Legazpi City, Albay province at 7 p.m. on Friday (June 9, 2023) as released by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. The volcano’s increased activities this week prompted the provincial board of Albay to place the entire province under a state of calamity. (Photo courtesy of Phivolcs)

LEGAZPI CITY – The Sangguniang Panlalawigan or SP (Provincial Board) of Albay passed during a special session on Friday a resolution declaring the entire province under a state of calamity due to the increasing restiveness of Mayon Volcano.

Vice Governor Baby Glenda Bongao, who is also SP presiding officer, said the declaration is needed to enable the affected local government units (LGUs) to utilize their calamity funds for disaster response.

According to the Albay Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC), the partial evacuation report indicated 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.

Alert Level 3 remains in effect over Mt. Mayon because of its continuing volcanic activity.

Meanwhile, the SP authorized Albay Governor Edcel Greco Lagman to utilize quick response funds (QRF) for disaster preparedness and emergency response.

"We will be allocating at least PHP30 million from our QRF for Mayon Volcano. If we allocate our full QRF, it is difficult since it's only PHP42 million," Lagman said.

Albay Public Safety Emergency Management Office (APSEMO) research division chief Eugene Escobar said the PHP30 million will be the initially available funds from the QRF.

"It will be supplemented by funds from 70 percent 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," Escobar said.

He said the PHP30-million fund will only be sufficient for 10 to 14 days of relief operations for the affected families. (PNA)