Albay calls for creation of Mayon Commission

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 28 (PNA) -— The Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (APSEMO) is asking Congress for the creation of a commission to make long-term solutions on preventing hazards whenever Mayon Volcano shows restiveness.

Cedric Daep, APSEMO head, said the Mayon Commission will be the answer to one of the concerns of the local government of Albay on permanent relocation of 2,898 families or 15,049 individuals residing within the six-kilometer-radius permanent danger zone.

“Establishing the commission through legislation would institutionalize a periodic performance to make study, come up with recommendations and implement a budget appropriation for the purpose of achieving the objective of zero casualty and permanent danger zone solution to the Mayon Volcano,” he said.

Daep said if the commission will be formed, the national government will allocate fund for all the concerns in terms of disaster risk management relating to the volcano such as relocation, buy-out scheme of land owned by residents and development for some land uses and even providing livelihood for population relocated.

“The local government unit can’t completely address this without legislation,” he added.

Daep said any local government cannot really meet the standards, especially in disaster response since there is only limited fund as the government only allocates 5 percent of the internal revenue allotment of a certain local government unit for disaster management, 70 percent of which is intended for pre-disaster activities and mitigation while 30 percent is quick response.

“If we will just rely on this fund, this could not even suffice the evacuees’ needs. We (Philippines) can’t really meet the ‘international sphere standard’ of humanitarian assistance. In the sphere standard or minimum standard in disaster response, for 25 persons in an evacuation center we need at least one sanitary toilet — one thing we can’t provide. The fund that we have is not enough even for one eruption. We don’t want to put population into hazard, it needs appropriation,” he said.

Talking about computation of convenience to be provided in disaster response, Daep said that in 2009 Mayon eruption, Albay only served 15 percent convenience for the evacuees.

Daep said disaster response puts the right of disaster-affected populations to life with dignity and to protection and assistance which covers primary components such as food security and nutrition, water supply and sanitation, health, education, psychosocial care, security, livelihood and camp management.

Earlier, Albay Governor Joey Salceda said they need at least Php600 million to buy the more or less 12,000 hectares of land inside the permanent danger zone, buy lots for permanent relocation of residents and to finally declare the 6-kilometer-radius PDZ as “no settlement area.” (PNA)