DARAGA, Albay – After ordering the decampment of at least 1,529 families staying in six evacuation centers on Saturday, the Daraga mayor in Albay vowed to extend continuous aid to them amid the restiveness of the Mayon Volcano.
In an interview on Wednesday, Mayor Carlwyn Baldo said he has ordered all the concerned departments of the town to closely monitor and secure the needs of the 949 internally displaced families and 580 economically displaced families who returned to their homes after more than three months of staying in the evacuation centers.
Baldo said the evacuees, coming from the villages of Bañadero, Mi-isi, Matnog, and Budiao, will be provided with psychosocial support and livelihood training programs to help them return to normalcy.
Meanwhile, Maricel Ordinario, municipal social welfare and development officer, said they are planning to submit a proposal to the Department of Social Welfare and Development for their identified internally displaced persons to avail of the "Food-for-Work" program through the Disaster Response Management Division.
Beneficiaries of the program will be given family food packs after completing disaster prevention and mitigation activities such as community clean-up drives, tree planting, drainage repair systems, and canal and creek cleaning, among others.
The mayor said he ordered the decampment after thoroughly reviewing the situation and receiving the recommendation of the Albay Public Safety Emergency Management Office.
“The four barangays are outside the six-kilometer-radius permanent danger zone. We also considered the barangay joint resolution no. 09-01, series of 2023, that they submitted, asking that they be allowed to return to their homes because of health and educational reasons,” Baldo said.
Gecil Lovendino, a Grade 12 student of Barangay Mi-isi who took temporary shelter at Anislag evacuation center, welcomed the decampment as it allowed her to “focus more on her studies.”
“Mas magiging madali na sa akin ang pagpasok sa eskwelahan dahil hindi ko na kailangan maglaan ng pamasahe galing sa evacuation center papuntang school (It will be easier for me to go to school because I don't have to pay for the fare just to get to school coming from the evacuation center)”, she said.
The evacuees were given food packs before leaving their temporary shelters.
More than 5,500 families in Albay were evacuated when Mayon’s alert status was raised to Level 3 on June 8. (PNA)